For the first time in five years, Southwest Youth and Family Services‘ annual gala will feature a guest speaker who’s not only famous in his own right, but near and dear to SWYFS’s longtime leader Steve Daschle … his brother, former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. The gala is 5:30-8:30 pm this Saturday at The Hall at Fauntleroy; tickets are still available here. In advance of his return to West Seattle, Sen. Daschle spent a few minutes chatting with WSB by phone from Washington, D.C. – read on:
Tom Daschle wanted to stress that he’ll be “spending some time talking about how proud we are of (Steve Daschle’s) leadership and his extraordinary accomplishments over (the past 25 years). … I also want to talk about the future and what role I think (SWYFS) and the people involved will have in affecting the quality of life for thousands of people …
“I think these efforts and the efforts of SWYFS are even more important than they would have been 25 years ago when my brother started .. in part a change in demographics and extraordinary growth in the (low-income) population, four times as many as in the 1970s, a far greater need than perhaps existed at any other time, and you see a reluctance and a dimunition in the resources available from at least the federal government, and I think that makes the challenge of providing services through centers like this critical … vitally important.”
These days, nine years since his career in Congress ended, the former senator is working “primarily on health care and health policy in a number of contexts,” mostly for the law firm DLA Piper, and the impending implementation of the Affordable Care Act. He also has been working for “think tanks” including the Bipartisan Policy Center and the Center for American Progress, and serves on “a few nonprofit and for-profit boards,” while also traveling around the country as a speaker.
About the ACA – aka “Obamacare” – we asked his view on how it’s being received. “There’s an enormous amount of misunderstanding, and I’m very disappointed that’s the case – the most misunderstood is the role of government in this whole effort … This is probably our last hope in putting together an infrastructure for health that takes all of the good things that are happening in the private sector (and) tries to create more of an efficient organization entity than we have today. … I’ve always said, America is the only industrialized country that doesn’t have a health SYSTEM – (it has a) marketplace that’s a collage of subsystems that … don’t work very well together … and unfortunately we pay a high price for the fact they don’t. … People don’t realize that (under the new system) they will never have to worry about getting dropped or excluded or denied insurance …”
Then the conversation comes back around to Saturday’s gala – come hear what he has to say about Southwest Youth and Family Services, his brother Steve, and the future. And maybe health care, too. If you missed it higher in the story, here’s the ticket link.
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