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Despite a low turnout, Health Care for America Now Pennsylvania State Director Marc Stier fired up the Penn students at a healthcare rally last night.

The event ignited a week-long effort to educate students about both sides of the healthcare question, to correct any misinformation regarding the issue and to get students involved, said Penn Democrats Vice President and Wharton junior Michael Stratton.

The intimate gathering solicited approximately a dozen student members in Claudia Cohen Hall, who listened to Stier’s talk about his involvement in the HCAN — a grassroots organization of approximately 30 million members that aims to gain support for health reform in Congress.

Stier also explained the current bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, what the bill can accomplish for the country, and how Penn students can help the House bill pass in the Senate.

“I’m really excited at this time because we’re making progress,” Stier said. “But I’m really excited for you guys because you’re young, and you’re going to see these progressive values in this country really take shape.”

Stier encouraged students to participate in HCAN’s local phone bank project, which he hopes to begin next week. Health Care Week Co-Director and Penn Dems Membership Director Emma Ellman-Golan, a College sophomore, said Penn Dems plans to pass out flyers and to encourage students to call local politicians on Locust Walk this week.

“Penn students can play a major role in this issue,” Stier said in an interview. He said he credits state volunteers and activists for the Democratic Party’s achievements thus far.

“Those people are my true heroes,” Stier said at the rally. “They’ve done so much and will continue to do so much more.”

Stratton said he’s excited about the week and impressed with this year’s underclassmen involvement in the planning of Penn Dems’ upcoming events, including specifically the leadership of Health Care Week’s Co-Director, Legislative Director of Penn Dems and College freshman Ben Lopez, a Daily Pennsylvanian contributing writer.

College freshman Beryl Sanders said she figured the low turnout at the rally last night wasn’t uncommon for a Monday-night event. She said she is optimistic about the turnout of support for this week’s events.

Regardless of the attendance last night, Penn Dems President and College senior Jordan Levine said he wanted the event to “energize and educate” the group and he hopes their “influential” political organization can make a real difference this week on campus.

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