Star Tribune columnist Nick Coleman carries the story today of Rep. Shelley Madore, DFL-Apple Valley, who went to the Capitol a few years ago (before she was elected to the House) to explain to lawmakers why her $900+ a month insurance premium should’ve required her insurance company to pay for the $60,000 operation her son needed (the Madores are said to have grossed $50,000 a year).
Madore, the story says, encountered a lawmaker :
When Madore told the guy (he’s no longer in office) that many families are forced to pay hundreds per month for supplemental insurance policies, he said such policies are a discretionary expense, much like his decision to pay for the cost of his son’s hockey ice time.
“I went through the roof,” Madore says. “I told him, ‘This is wrong, and some day I’m going to come up here and change the system.’ He looked at me and said, ‘Good luck with that, dear.’ Well, that was all I needed. I went home and said, ‘I’m running for the Legislature.'”
Politicians have been hounded out of office for uttering words that show not only a lack of empathy for a working person, but the lack of good sense to keep them to themselves. Madore confirmed for me today that the comment came from then Rep. Fran Bradley of Rochester. It wasn’t the first time Bradley drew the parallel between keeping your kid alive and suiting one up for the big game.
But back in June 2003, hardly a word was heard when Bradley, who chaired the House Health Policy and Finance Committee, according to an MPR story, responded to the plight of parents of 4,700 disabled Minnesota children with this:
“For that price, you’re still getting quite a bargain. If your kid was choosing to play hockey, it wouldn’t be unusual to pay those kinds of expenses. My son is in a marching band and we averaged out for the year, the trips that they have taken it would be in those ranges. I know it’s a sacrifice, but I hope they would be balanced in their thinking.”
Bradley was re-elected by a big margin, and then retired after the 2006 session.
He now writes a monthly column for the Rochester Post Bulletin.