Last Tuesday, Americans turned out at the polls to vote for the first time since the election of President Obama and the declaration of the national recession. On Saturday, congress voted on the healthcare overhaul proposed by house democrats. This bill would create a public option in the healthcare system, creating federally funded healthcare for those Americans who cannot afford insurance.
The Republican Party prevailed in three key elections on the east coast. In the gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey, Republican candidates unseated their Democratic competitors. The promise of financial reform aided Republican Christopher J. Christie in defeating Democrat Jon S. Corzine in New Jersey and in Virginia Republican Robert F. McDonnell prevailed with a sweeping 59 percent of the vote, while democratic opponent R. Creigh Deeds carried only 41 percent. In Maine, the GOP and conservative organizations celebrated victory on Question 1. Previously, gay marriage was made legal in the state, but on Tuesday the ballot initiative sought to overturn gay marriage rights and prevailed with 53 percent of the vote. Some say the prevalence of the GOP this year is a reflection on President Obama, while others see it as a demand for individual state financial reform.
On the national level, the debate over healthcare reform has finally hit a turning point. Congress voted 220 to 215 on Saturday for a healthcare bill designed to cover healthcare for uninsured citizens using state and federal tax revenues. The House of Representatives is the first to vote on the bill, next it will travel to the Senate. The controversy over the bill, however, continues to rage. Many Republicans claim that the government should not be increasing domestic spending during a recession, while many democrats see the rising number of unemployed and uninsured Americans as a call to action. Currently, the United States is under international scrutiny, as one of the few developed western countries with no universal healthcare. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was instrumental in promoting the bill, which was backed by President Obama. Many democrats, however, expressed frustration with the bill when a last minute change was made to the abortion policy. The change indicated that no abortions would be covered under the public option should the bill pass into law.
In San Francisco, much of the ballot initiatives were somewhat trivial. On propositions D and E voters opted to limit advertisement on city owned property and on Market Street. Proposition A received sweeping approval (68 percent of the vote), determining the time frame allotted for government budgets. Proposition B overturned previous restrictions on the number of aides members of the Board of Supervisors are allowed to have and Proposition C determined that the city can sell naming rights to Candlestick Park. Dennis Herrera and Jose Cisneros were re-elected as Attorney General and Treasurer respectively.