No matter where you go throughout the United States, one thing remains the same: Negative politics.
While attending business meetings in Las Vegas — and enjoying a little Vegas fun — local friends brought to my attention a new attack mailer against Nevada Assemblywoman Victoria Seaman, who is running for state Senate District 6.
It may not be in Florida, but the nonsense is still familiar.
This particular mail piece stands out for one thing: how low political opponents will go to take advantage a heartbreaking situation.
Seaman, the first Latina Republican elected to the Nevada Assembly, faces incumbent Erv Nelson in the June 14 GOP primary. Nelson is a former assemblyman who resigned to move into the district to qualify for the ballot. Since Seaman’s AD 34 overlaps with the Senate district she is seeking, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, she didn’t have to move.
For those of us familiar with Sunshine State politics, residency troubles are a story we know all too well.
This attack, paid for by the Nelson for Nevada campaign, blasts Seaman for filing bankruptcy – something she was forced to do more than two decades ago — because of mounting medical bills. Just like millions of other Americans facing financial troubles.
Reports show that bankruptcies from medical bills have become the No. 1 cause of such filings, more than bankruptcies due to credit-card bills or unpaid mortgages.
In this case, it was because of the difficulties surrounding the birth of Seaman’s daughter.
“I sold my business and switched careers before Tatiana’s birth,” Seaman told Florida Politics. “I had just separated from Tatiana’s father and was working from home and trying build my clientele in my new job.
“She was born and I was so happy to have this new person in my life.”
However, things changed quickly after Tatiana was born without formed vocal chords.
“Her air passage was totally blocked,” Seaman explains. “My daughter couldn’t cry, she couldn’t even breath. Doctors took her and discovered she had a laryngeal web that prevented her from breathing in the way most people do.”
Tatiana was in and out of the hospital regularly, enduring 21 surgeries before she was 10 months old.
“She grew, against the odds, and lived long enough so that doctors could open her airway,” Seaman says. Yet the procedure left her daughter paralyzed in the hospital for eight days.
In the following weeks, Seaman and her daughter returned to the hospital for more procedures and surgeries, which prevented scar tissue from forming and again blocking her airway.
“Finally, after 10 months, my daughter’s breathing tube was removed,” she says. “Even though Tatiana had been out of the womb for nearly a year … I heard her voice for the first time.”
Of course, the mailer doesn’t touch upon any of that. Nor does the hit piece show that with self-paid medical insurance costing nearly $700 a month and medical bills piling up, Seaman eventually lost her home and was forced to declare bankruptcy.
Seaman doesn’t have a copy of the original filing — digital records don’t go back to 1993 — and it could take weeks to get a hard copy.
Nevertheless, she says accusations of “going on a spending spree” before filing bankruptcy are patently false; Seaman didn’t have more than $1,000 of revolving credit on any single card. The majority of the debt listed in the bankruptcy — approximately $50,000 — was almost exclusively related to business.
While the mailer represents one of the lowest points in recent political memory, Seaman responds to the personal attack in a characteristically good-natured manner.
“I would do it again in a heartbeat,” she says. “Today, my daughter is alive and well. She’s about to graduate from an excellent school.”
As for the bankruptcy, that is far behind her. Seaman is looking forward, and she is positive about her priorities.
“I will not apologize for that bankruptcy or the events that surrounded it,” she says. “Americans every day struggle to provide for their families and their children. I’m no different. My daughter — her life, my relationship with her — that’s what matters to me.”
Unlike negative politics, hope for a better future is the same — in both Florida and Nevada.