Earlier this week, Cara Jennings got to live out the fantasy of so many liberals living in red states: She had the chance to tell her service-cutting, privatization-loving governor what she thought of him, and didn’t hold back.
The 39-year-old Floridian was sitting in a Starbucks in Gainesville when Governor Rick Scott walked in. Scott, who became governor in 2011 and won reelection in 2014, has spent his gubernatorial career running through the entire playbook of modern conservative policies: cutting taxes, stripping away important regulations, making it harder for people to get unemployment benefits, privatizing schools, and laying offthousands of government workers. All this has his approval rating down below 40 percent, but what really pissed off Jennings was his recent decision to deny state funding to clinics that give women abortions and his refusal to expand Medicaid, which has left hundreds of thousands of people in the state without a way to get affordable health insurance. (Other Republican governors across the country have also refused to expand Medicaid, even though that creates a “coverage gap” under the Affordable Care Act.)
In a video that was filmed by an onlooker and went viral on Wednesday, Jennings expresses her rage at Scott in the clearest way possible: “You cut Medicaid so that I couldn’t get Obamacare!” she shouts at him. “You are an asshole! You don’t care about working people!”
One of Scott’s people can be seen stepping in to interrupt. Jennings, who served as a city commissioner in Palm Beach County until 2011, quickly tells her to talk to the hand, then continues unloading like she’d been practicing for this moment. When Scott brags to her that, under his watch, Florida has, “added a million jobs,” Jennings loudly asks the crowded coffee shop, “Who here has a great job? Who is looking forward to finishing school? Do you really feel like you have a job coming up?”
At that, Scott and his crew of suits (some with wires looped behind their ears) hustle out the door, with Jennings still shouting, “Rich people like you don’t know what to do… You’re an embarrassment to our state!”
To learn more about the woman who has become something of a left-wing internet folk hero, I called her up.
VICE: Clearly, this was personal for you. How have Governor Scott’s policies directly affected you?
Cara Jennigs: Based on my income, I should be enrolled in Medicare. I’m like many thousands across the state: The federal government wants us to be on Medicare, but the state government says we can’t be, because Governor Scott won’t follow the new federal guidelines.
In the video you also directly mention Planned Parenthood.
Over the years my income has fluctuated, and a few years ago I totally relied on Planned Parenthood for my reproductive health—like many low-income women use the services of Planned Parenthood. And I’m not talking about abortion services. I just mean basic reproductive health, you know? Birth control, mammograms, cancer screenings. Now, in counties like the one I live in, all these women are now forced to go to a different healthcare provider [because Scott recently defunded Planned Parenthood]. And that is just based on Governor Scott’s dislike of Planned Parenthood’s support of abortion. It’s not at all about the services they provide. It’s just a total political game he’s played with women’s healthcare. CLICK HERE to read the rest of the article at Vice…
Or watch this video of the lady’s moment of heroism!