Small Business Owner Reaches Her Boiling Point

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," September 4, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS GUEST HOST: You want to see town hall outrage? Well, this is it, a small business owner giving Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey an absolute earful at a town hall. This outraged voter is here to go "On the Record." But first, watch this.


CATHERINE BRAGG, SMALL BUSINESS OWNER: My name is Catherine Bragg, and I am from Nevado (ph), California. I'm also a small business owner. Right now, 90 percent of the businesses in the United States help support this -- this financial system that we have in place, small businesses like myself.


BRAGG: Thank you! Thank you to everybody out there! This room is full lot of a lot of small businesses and entrepreneurs. And our concern is, is that we do right now play by the rules. We pay our taxes and we help out in every way we can by being productive every day!


BRAGG: Now, the problem I have is that both sides of the political aisle have tried to put reformation on health care out there for years, and nobody has done anything until today and now it's being rammed down our throats!


BRAGG: Now, I have contacted your office in the past when I've opposed anything, and I get back the standard e-mail that says, Thank you for your support!


BRAGG: That's a bunch of bull! When I speak in opposition, I expect respect! We've called your office and your staff has told us that you know best when I oppose it! Now, right now in California, as a small business owner, I could use tort reform!


BRAGG: As a small business owner, I could use competition! There are 1,300 insurance companies in the United States and six of them -- I can only use six in California! If you open it up to competition, like I experience in my business -- competition makes me better! And in the end, I do not try to overcharge anybody! I don't try to gouge anybody! If you let the free market system work, everybody can have insurance! Thank you!



BREAM: Catherine Bragg joins us live. Now, she owns a bakery outside of San Francisco. Catherine, thank you so much for your time tonight. I've got to tell you, you really seemed to enjoy getting that all off your chest. What was it like at that meeting?

BRAGG: Well, you're absolutely right. I enjoyed taking a couple of minutes and getting it all off my chest.

BREAM: And what were you so upset about? What took you to that meeting, and what did you w ant to say? Because you unloaded quite a bit there.

BRAGG: Well, my real motivation was the fact that for the last year I have a representative that continued to vote in favor of so many of the bills that have gone up for voting, and basically in voting in everything and agreeing to the stimulus packages and in agreeing to bailing out the financial companies along with the big car companies, not to mention cap and trade, I kept saying to my representative, please do not vote in favor of these, please, please, it will only hurt us out here.

And her office continued to give me standard letters of support, which I found very insulting. And they also went so far as to say she knows best. She will do what's best, basically acting way too elitist for me, and I found it to be quite insulting.

So when I had a chance, which is after living under this woman for 12 years, I was given two minutes, and I had a timer. I had somebody standing there with a timer.

And I found it to be very, as I said, very insulting president, and I tried to be respectful of the process. But once the microphone was placed in my hand, I had to speak which not only was from my heart, but from the hearts and minds of many others.

BREAM: And by the reaction you got there -- I mean, clearly that was the case, because before you were even done, the crowd was cheering and screaming. And when you finished, it was kind of a rock star reception there.

And I have to ask you, I'm not sure that that died down for very long, because the video I saw, that went on for a little bit of time. But once that did die down, what response did you get from your congresswoman?

BRAGG: Well, there was a couple of things. Like you said, the response was overwhelming. And I'll be honest with you. When I started to speak -- I live in a very liberal community, and I expected opposition. I thought I would have gotten tomatoed.

And instead what I got was this rush of energy through my body from people saying, you go, girl, basically, and it only fueled my fire. And then when I finished speaking, and I turned around, like you said, there was a rock star finish.

But what I think it said is that so many people were so relieved that finally somebody said there's ideas on the table from real working people who are out there expecting our representatives to do right, and just listen to us.

And in the end she didn't even -- my representative didn't even respond. She just basically moved on to the next question, and they weren't even questions. It was all very rhetorical, and as I said, I thought it was very much of an insulting town hall meeting, to be honest with you.

BREAM: In watching your full question, your full statement there, you were not attacking her. You were laying out ideas that you think are very important to small business owners just like yourself. It's 90-plus percent of the American economy is small business owners. You talked about tort reform, you talked about insurance choices.


BREAM: Tell me about the points that are most important to you that you think we need to see if we're going to have health care reform.

BRAGG: I really appreciate you asking. I have to say thank you and thank you to FOX News for giving me an opportunity to speak for a lot of people who think are out I think in the trenches and the front line.

And I don't have a problem. I'm U.S. citizen, god bless America, and I will say that until I die. But in the end, I think that people do need a voice and we do need to stand up truly to help support this big system in place.

There are three points. It's tort reform in California is desperately needed. Almost two years ago we had some tort reform take place for our workmen's comp. My workmen's comp bill went down by half the next year. It was a huge relief to my little business, and I was allowed and actually encouraged to hire more people because I didn't have that added expense, plus that concern over my head about these unnecessary lawsuits.

Second is that we do need to have some kind of competition opened up. If there are 1,300 insurance companies throughout the United States, the state of California has shown me a list of six that I can choose from.

What people don't understand is I do not have health insurance. I am part of the 10 million people out here right now that would like health insurance. I would like to pay for my health insurance.

I'm a productive person. I'm not looking for it to be given to me or handed to me. I take a great deal of pride in what I do.

I want my representatives to get out of the way. They created the mess. They're the ones legislating it in California. They can fix this if they open it up to competition.

There are many insurance companies that would love to come into California. Who wouldn't? We are the largest state in the union, 20 million people. That's a great big huge vast amount of people they can tap into.

And thirdly, which I didn't get a chance to ask because I was so wound up because I forgot, was catastrophic insurance. I right now, because I don't have insurance, I do pay for my own health care as I go along. I spend maybe less than $1,000 a year.

Why should I pay a monthly premium of $1,000, $12,000 at the end of the year when I don't really need that? What I can use is catastrophic insurance. That would give me a chance to pay into the system, which I'm happy to do, but I would only need it should something catastrophic come my way or my family's way.

Those are the three things that I could use right now, and I think others could as well.

BREAM: Catherine, we thank you so much for joining us. We know you speak for a lot of small business folks out there. And who knows? Maybe you will take on Congresswoman Woolsey next time that seat is up.


BRAGG: I've got a lot of cakes to bake. Thank you very much.

BREAM: Thank you so much.

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