I’m one of 1.3 million Iowans with a pre-existing condition.

Photo of Emily Holley speaking at a podium

I gave this speech to the Iowa Federation of Labor AFL-CIO Conference on August 21, 2019.

Thank you so much for having me here today. My name is Emily Holley and I’m the executive director of an organization called Iowa Forward and we’re running a campaign called Iowa Voices and I’m so excited to share that with you all today because I think it’s a message that’s going to resonate with everyone in here.

Before I get started, I’m wondering how many people in this room have a pre-existing condition? How many people in this room know someone that they care about with a pre-existing condition?

Okay, for those of you who didn’t raise your hands you can now because you know me.

I have several pre-existing conditions. As I’m standing here before you I have severe chronic pain. I’m a terrible pain from head to toe. I’ve had chronic pain since I was 10 years old so almost 25 years. It will be 25 years this winter.

My story is hard for me to tell. It’s not something I like to share but I need to share it because it’s really important. I’m one of 1.3 million Iowans with a pre-existing condition and I live with a disability. And I know some of you here do as well.

My mission is to make sure that our elected officials, especially Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, are fighting for us.

I don’t know if you guys know this but Joni Ernst voted four times to repeal preexisting condition protections for all of us and that’s unacceptable.

She says that she has a plan to replace it but she hasn’t put anything in place. And so one of the things that we’re doing is we’re taking stories like mine and stories like yours and we’re amplifying them.

We’re saying, “Hey, Senator Ernst please fight for us. Please remember that you serve Iowans and not the insurance companies and not the pharmaceutical companies and we need you to fight for regular everyday Iowans like myself, like you all.””

We’re going to be running this campaign for the next, over a year, and we would love to have your support. We would love to hear your voice. We’d love to help share your story because That’s really what if creates chage. All of us standing up and sharing our stories and amplifying our voices together.

We’re excited to be partnering with labor, we’re excited to be partnering with Progress Iowa, Iowa Citizen Action Network among many others to really help amplify people stories and people’s voices.

We’d love to hear from you. Thank you so much for everything that you all do. It’s just an honor to speak with you all here today.

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