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Government, Politics & Issues

In state Senate kickoff, Page pledges to focus on health care

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 9, 2009 - In his quest for the state Senate, former state Rep. Sam Page plans to focus on an issue he knows well -- health care.

A physician, Page said he's confident that some sort of health care overhaul will be approved by Congress in the coming months.

He promised a standing-room crowd at his campaign kickoff Wednesday night in Clayton that, if elected next year, his aim will be to "work and fight so whatever reforms we have work for our families in Missouri.''

Page said in an interview after his Wednesday night speech that he was concerned about some GOP proposals that would prevent any federal health care changes from going into effect in Missouri. "It's a bad idea ... to turn away federal dollars,'' he said.

He said that health care is part of the top issue -- the economy -- nationally and in Missouri. "People are losing their jobs, and that means they're losing their health care,'' he said.

Page also told supporters that he had been one of the original sponsors in the state House of a measure that would require insurers to cover treatment for autistic children. That issue now is a hot one in the Legislature, after it was killed in the House last session.

Now, Gov. Jay Nixon (a Democrat who also has pushed for autism coverage) is trying again next session.

Page, a Democrat from Creve Coeur, is seeking the 24th District seat to be vacated after next year by fellow Democrat Joan Bray, who will have completed the two terms allowed under Missouri's term-limit restrictions.

Page has at least two Democratic competitors in the August 2010 primary: County Councilwoman Barbara Fraser and state Rep. Mike Corcoran of St. Ann. At least two Republicans also are planning a bid for the 24th District post:  including lawyer Dean Plocher from Des Peres, and John Lamping, a branch manager for Wells Fargo Advisors.

Page was introduced Wednesday night by a longtime friend, County Councilwoman Kathleen Kelly Burkett, former chairwoman of the St. Louis County Democratic Party. While lauding Page, Burkett observed, "This race is not going to be a cakewalk."

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