Health care talk draws 1,500 to Delmar

At one point Kulbida was "flipped the bird" and had to tell members of the crowd not to use vulgarity because of the children attending the event.

Elena Marcelle from Slingerlands brought two of her three children and asked Tonko to explain to them why the national debt was so high before asking why she shouldn't keep her money.

Another local speaker said she supported aspects of the plan.

"Thank you for your support of single-payer, I support single payer," she said after identifying herself as being from Glenmont.

Shouts continued through the evenings as speakers became frustrated with what others had to say, or not being able to be heard themselves. As it began to get dark, people were instructed to ask specific questions quickly without prefacing their own situation.

"Ask your question," and "get on with it," were heard several times from the crowd as was,"answer the question," or "you're not answering the question" when Tonko was addressing questions.

One woman said she was appalled after onlookers booed those selected to share their medical and financial problems with the crowd.

"You should be ashamed of yourself," she said.

The crowd appeared divided, however, with just as many standing ovations as boos from Tonko's responses to having a national health care system.

Cunningham said he considered the night a success, with all 750 parking spaces filled and nobody turned away or arrested.

"Traffic was a little bit of a problem, but we go everyone in and out of here safely," Cunningham said. "It was good to see everyone out expressing their opinions in a safe format."

Bethlehem police did escort one person out of the event, but Cunningham said he was not arrested and that things went smoothly overall.

The health care talk was the third of its kind and the largest one to date in the Capital District.

When Cunningham was asked during the Wednesday, Aug. 26 Town Board meeting about the cost associated with Tonko's appearance, he said he did not have an exact number associated with the extra police, highway and parks and recreation workers, but that there will be no federal reimbursement.

"There was no deal made with the federal government before the event," he said. ""

Vote on this Story by clicking on the Icon


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment