Longtime Well being Advocate Donna Shalala Loses Home Reelection Race


Rep. Donna E. Shalala of Florida, the first-term Democratic member of Congress and former Well being and Human Companies secretary within the Clinton administration, misplaced her marketing campaign for reelection Tuesday.

Shalala’s loss to Maria Elvira Salazar — a Republican and former tv journalist who in contrast Democratic coverage proposals to leftist oppression in international locations like Cuba whereas campaigning within the Miami district — was a notable upset for Home Democrats. Whereas Democrats held onto management of the Home, to date they’ve fallen wanting expectations that they’d safe an excellent stronger majority there.

Political forecasters like The Cook dinner Political Report had projected it was “seemingly” Shalala would win. She misplaced 48.6% to 51.3%.

Within the closing weeks of the marketing campaign, Shalala, 79, and Salazar, 58, traded assault advertisements that touched on the election’s significance for well being care.

“Salazar helps Trump, who needs to remove the Inexpensive Care Act and take away protection of preexisting well being circumstances,” a Shalala advert warned.

Salazar pointed to Shalala’s failure to reveal inventory trades in violation of federal legislation. She additionally accused the consultant, who was appointed to the federal fee overseeing the distribution of coronavirus reduction to small companies, of not doing sufficient for her constituents through the pandemic.

Shalala got here to Congress in 2018, serving to Democrats reclaim the Home of Representatives on guarantees to defend the Inexpensive Care Act and fashionable client protections for these with preexisting circumstances.

However 2020 is proving a a lot totally different election yr. A political rematch after Shalala defeated Salazar two years in the past, this election appeared to hinge on points past well being care protection and affordability.

Early experiences sign Shalala was not the one casualty of a powerful displaying by Republicans within the Miami-Dade space of South Florida. One other first-term Democratic member of Congress representing a part of Miami-Dade County, Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, additionally misplaced. Former Vice President Joe Biden trailed Hillary Clinton’s displaying there in 2016, when she gained the district by nearly 20 factors.

Shalala first gained the seat after it was vacated by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a retiring Republican who had held it for 30 years, together with when her district went for Clinton in 2016.

On the time, it was seen as a vulnerability that Shalala didn’t converse Spanish whereas looking for to characterize a closely Latino district. Salazar, who labored for the Spanish-language information channel Univision, usually campaigned in Spanish.

Throughout her two years in Congress, Shalala served on the Home Committee on Training and Labor and its subcommittee that addressed well being points, in addition to the Home Guidelines Committee — an indication of her favor with Democratic leaders.

After the Guidelines Committee held a listening to on a “Medicare for All” proposal in 2019, Shalala referred to it as “step one in exchanging concepts on how we transfer towards common well being protection.” However she additionally expressed considerations that Medicare is “not nearly as good” as many non-public insurance coverage and that some constituents would favor to maintain their plans.

“Why ought to we spend cash when individuals have good non-public medical health insurance?” she advised C-SPAN. “We have to cowl those who don’t have protection now.”

When President Invoice Clinton appointed Shalala because the nation’s high well being and human providers official in 1993, she was seen as a controversial choose, too liberal for some. As chancellor of the College of Wisconsin in Madison, she had inspired the college to undertake a speech code supposed to limit hate speech, a transfer later dominated unconstitutional in federal courtroom.

Shalala served as well being secretary till 2001, turning into president of the College of Miami till 2015 after which head of the Clinton Basis till 2017.

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