Kathy Castor upbeat despite negative trends throughout the nation

And what about the other major signature issue that the President and the Democratic Congress pushed through this year, the health care reform bill?  Castor stands behind her vote in support of the legislation, despite a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released earlier this week that showed 46% of the country think it was a bad idea, vs. 36% who support it.

"Let's look at the facts here.  Costs of health care for families and small business owners were rising out of sight, and at the same time here in Florida we have the highest rate of uninsured, and they're directly related.  And what folks needs to understand is that we cannot get a handle on costs until people take personal responsibility, and I think one of the communication points lost is if you have insurance, you're picking up the tab for many people who don't, who show up in the ER."

Castor has frustrated her Republican opponent in refusing to engage in a one-on-one debate.  She responds that she did engage him a Tiger Bay event in August, but doesn't acknowledge that it was not a direct exchange between the two candidates vying for the District 11 seat, but actually six different candidates who were running for both the GOP and Democratic primaries at that time.

In the current issue of Rolling Stone, National Affairs Correspondent Tim Dickinson writes in The Case For Obama:

By any rational measure, Obama is the most accomplished and progressive president in decades, yet the only Americans fired up by the changes he has delivered are Republicans and Tea Partiers hellbent on reversing them. Heading into the November elections, Obama's approval ratings are mired in the mid-40s, and polls reflect a stark enthusiasm gap: Half of all Republicans are "very" excited about voting this fall, compared to just a quarter of Democrats. "Republicans have succeeded in making even the president's victories look distasteful, messy — and seem like bad policy steps or defeats," says Norman Ornstein, a scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. "Many on the left have expressed nothing but anger, frustration and disappointment."

In case you haven't heard, the environment against anybody associated with Obama or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is rather toxic, but there are some Democrats who are standing up proudly for what's been accomplished over the past couple of years, such as Tampa's Kathy Castor.

Elected with the wave of Democrats who led to the stunning takeover of the Republicans in 2006, Castor has her most serious challenger yet in the form of former U.S. Army Colonel (Retired) Mike Prendergast.

The Congresswoman felt the anger about the health care reform first hand in that celebrated town hall meeting a year ago last August, when an event at the Children's Board in Ybor City became extremely volatile, as a crowd of Tea Party activists, mixed in with union members in a crowded warm space, gave her an up close and personal view of what was only beginning of the trend of the angry voter.

And with the economy still in dire straights, Castor says she understands the sentiments in the community.  However, as the New York Times reported earlier this week, the much loathed stimulus bill came loaded with tax cuts that, unfortunately for Democrats, most people don't realize they got:

In a troubling sign for Democrats as they head into the midterm elections, their signature tax cut of the past two years, which decreased income taxes by up to $400 a year for individuals and $800 for married couples, has gone largely unnoticed.

In a New York Times/CBS News Poll last month, fewer than one in 10 respondents knew that the Obama administration had lowered taxes for most Americans. Half of those polled said they thought that their taxes had stayed the same, a third thought that their taxes had gone up, and about a tenth said they did not know. As Thom Tillis, a Republican state representative, put it as the dinner wound down here, “This was the tax cut that fell in the woods — nobody heard it.”

Congresswoman Castor isn't shy about speaking up for those tax cuts, telling CL earlier this week that "that was a historic tax cut, and refunds were larger than ever before, taxes were the lowest for middle class families since the Truman administration.  We can say it over and over, and I've been very active going throughout my community explaining what the Recovery Act means for them in creating jobs and cutting taxes, but frankly their personal economic situation and that uncertainty is probably the biggest problem to communicating what's in the Recovery Act."

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