Christine Stuart photo

A small group of Hartford area residents gathered outside U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd’s Hartford office Thursday to thank him for supporting a government-run public health care option.

On the heels of Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s veto of two marquee Connecticut health care reform bills those who gathered in Hartford turned their focus toward the national health care debate.

Holly Beum, who helped organize the MoveOn.org “Public Option Now” rally, delivered 76-pages of more than 2,200 signatures in support of a public option to Dodd’s staff Thursday.

Christine Stuart photo

A member of liberal group MoveOn.org, Beum said the Hartford rally was just one of hundreds taking place across America Thursday.

“We congratulate Sen. Dodd for being one of the few strong champions of a public option,” Beum said. She said a public option is what the American people want. 

Rosemary Cardwell said she was there Thursday to make sure Congress knows “we want the health insurance they have.” As someone who comes from the nursing field, Cardwell said she thinks a public health care option can better address costs and make the system more affordable.

“Government of the corporations, by the corporations, and for the corporations will no longer be tolerated,” Cardwell said.

Charles Walker Prewitt Sr., 90, said in 1961 when he was in England he injured his back. When he showed up at the doctor’s office, the doctor wondered why he was there.

“It’s obvious you stay home and I come there,” Prewitt recalled the doctor telling him. He said when the doctor was done treating him he asked the doctor how much he owed him. When he was told nothing, he couldn’t believe it.

“My experience runs counter to the argument that you can’t get good health care if it’s run by the government,” Prewitt said. “I got far better care there than I would have gotten here.”

It was unclear Thursday why the group rallied in front of Dodd’s office, instead of U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman’s office. Lieberman has said he does not support a public option, while Dodd has been the main proponent of a public option.