Reflections from a member, Leslie Price, on a visit to Senator Feinstein’s San Francisco office
Various Indivisible groups in the Bay Area have kept Senator Feinstein’s staff busy with meetings, and Indivisible East Bay is no exception. Several folks from East Bay and other nearby Indivisible chapters had a lunch meeting with Feinstein’s State Director Sean Elsbernd and Abby Ellis one of her Field Reps.
The meeting was cordial and productive, but the members in attendance didn’t shy away from pressing Mr. Elsbernd and Ms. Ellis for information about everything from the budget to the Senator’s occasionally lukewarm responses to constituent concerns.
We covered a lot of ground in our hour-long visit: drug policy, healthcare, torture, Russia, immigration reform, and our continuing horror regarding the white supremacists who seem to have the President’s ear.
The long a the short of the meeting? Senator Feinstein supports much of what we were pressing her for including limiting military spending when she can, addressing the opioid crisis appropriately, investigating this administration’s ties to Russia, and continuing the US’s commitment against torture.
She’s not really on board with the notion of single payer healthcare (which we already knew from her Town Hall). Though we didn’t make much headway regarding that particular issue, Mr. Elsbernd did promise to ask the Senator to avoid language like “government takeover” when talking about healthcare.
The Senator is not hopeful that any sort of comprehensive immigration reform is doable at this time, but she is taking a piecemeal approach when she sees opportunities to pass legislation that protects DREAMERs and keeps families together.
Our other big “win” from that meeting was our continued refrain asking Senator Feinstein to listen to our concerns (even if she’s not in a position to act) and to use more powerful language about issues her constituents care about. She and her staff like to say that she’s “a work horse, not a show horse,” meaning that she makes up for a lack of emotion by producing good results. We made it clear that we appreciate all of that work, but that we want and need to hear a little passion about issues that are especially critical.
We ended our meeting talking about that desire for a little passion from the Senator—especially during these difficult days. Looks like maybe she’s listening: