By Sharon Aron Baron
In her first campaign appearance for President Obama this election, Caroline Kennedy made a stop at the Tamarac Community Center on Thursday, March 22, to connect with Women for Obama supporters in Broward County.
Kennedy, daughter of President John F. Kennedy, is an attorney, writer, and editor and serves on numerous nonprofit organizations’ boards.
Marking this week’s second anniversary of the Affordable Care Act’s passage, Kennedy reminded the packed crowd about the President’s leadership on health care reform that protects Americans.
Given only 24 hours’ notice of Kennedy’s appearance, the turnout was so large that there were not enough chairs. News channels from South Florida covered the event. Women in line talked about Caroline Kennedy with the familiarity one uses for a close friend or family member. Overheard were women talking about voting for her father or watching her grow up as a child.
With the legacy she brings, Kennedy brought Obama supporters from South Florida, including Coral Springs and Parkland. A diverse group of white, black, Hispanic, young, old, women, and men packed the community center.
Kennedy said she was here because Barack Obama inspired her four years ago and still does as a woman, a mother, a lawyer, and an educator.
“I believe President Obama is fighting for the America that I believe in and in the values of justice, fairness, opportunity, and innovation that make this country great.”
Kennedy said that whatever happens in Florida over these next seven months will change the shape of history.
Four years ago, she stood next to her Uncle Ted as two of her children could vote for the first time. It was an exciting time for her and her family to endorse Barack Obama.
She spoke about her late Uncle Ted Kennedy, who was passionate about healthcare.
“Ted Kennedy believed that Barack Obama would bring affordable health care to all Americans, and that was the cause in which he gave his entire career.”
Although Ted Kennedy did not live to see it, two years ago, Caroline Kennedy went with her son Jack to see the Affordable Care Act being signed into law.
“Under the act, women can’t be charged more for health insurance than men; it includes preventive healthcare for mammograms and colonoscopies. Insurance companies can’t deny coverage due to preexisting conditions, and soon coverage will be expanded to include contraception and well-women visits.”
Kennedy said that people have come up to her all her life and told her that her father, President Kennedy, had changed their lives because they got them involved in politics or public service. After all, he asked them to. She said that her father made them feel they could make a difference, which inspired other generations.
She said that the most important thing is realizing that President Obama has inspired another generation. This generation will transform this country and keep working for the ideals that we believe in.
Reminding the mostly female audience that President Obama appointed two women Supreme Count Justices, Kennedy stressed that not only could the Affordable Health Care Act be overturned, but Roe vs. Wade could be overturned if Barack Obama is not re-elected.
“Three-quarters of our teachers are women. Women now have most households in this country, are trying to balance work and family, and more women than men go to college. On every issue that’s important to women, President Obama has been steadfast. “
“The experts tell us that the women will decide this election. Having grown up in politics, I know that women decide all elections.”
Kennedy reminded the audience that it wasn’t going to be an easy campaign.
“It’s going to be ugly, mean, divisive, and expensive.”
“We’re ready!” Shouted an audience member to a loud burst of applause.
Kennedy ended that she wanted a government close to Barack Obama’s heart; that fights for fairness, for families, and our children’s future.
After a few handshakes, Kennedy graciously was escorted out of the side door. But for the women who stayed to mingle or sign up for campaign volunteer forms, her presence had stayed with them.