Supported by 60 volunteers, the Los Angeles LGBT Center recently expanded its efforts to defeat the U.S. Senate bill that would destroy the Affordable Care Act, cause an estimated 23 million Americans to lose insurance, and disproportionately harm LGBT people.
Dedicating much of Sunday, July 9, to calling voters in key states, the volunteers not only urged constituents to contact their senators, they frequently connected voters to senate offices so they could leave a heartfelt message conveying why access to healthcare was lifesaving.
“The sound of enthusiasm, hope, and ringing bells—indicating a volunteer had transferred a voter to their senator’s voicemail box—was deafening,” says Joey Hernández, policy and mobilization manager at the Center.
“Throughout the rooms, we heard conversations of excited voters eager to be patched through to their senator. It was an incredible Sunday afternoon at the Center, filled with the energy of activists and concerned constituents from across the country.”
The group had 3,735 conversations with voters and successfully patched 370 of them through to the voicemail of Cory Gardner, the junior U.S. senator from Colorado.
Gardner is one of 13 Republican senators who was tasked with dismantling the health care law. Polls in Colorado show that voters in Gardner’s state want to keep or fix the Affordable Care Act and not just start over.
The Center’s most previous phone bank effort on June 25 had 45 volunteers. During that effort, the team had 2,150 conversations with voters and secured commitments from 280 of them to contact their senators.
Among the volunteers at both phone banks was community organizer Tiffany Winnike who moved from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles earlier this year.
“I don’t think I could have not shown up for the second phone bank,” Winnike says. “Since the first one, we watched (Republican Senate Majority Leader) Mitch McConnell struggle to get votes. So there’s a feeling of ‘Oh God, what we are doing is working.’”
These efforts are also after a month of phone banking in March where 474 volunteers engaged in similar efforts with the original Republican bill that attempted to repeal the Affordable Care Act.