DENVER — A new TV ad from Crossroads GPS features a Castle Rock mom criticizing Democratic Sen. Mark Udall for voting for the Affordable Care Act — not a surprising mouthpiece in a race that will likely come down to suburban women.
But the woman in the ad, Richelle McKim, is actually an employee of an energy company that is among the biggest donors to Udall’s opponent; and her story, which seemingly contradicts information on her publicly available LinkedIn profile, is at least more complicated than the 30-second version hitting Colorado’s airwaves starting Thursday.
In the new spot, titled “Richelle”, McKim is sitting at her kitchen table with a cup of coffee talking about how “policies coming out of Washington really do affect us here at home.”
She describes her husband’s decision to start his own business
“We knew we needed to find healthcare,” McKim said. “Because we were a single income family, we couldn’t afford our plan.”
On the screen, text appears that reads: “Richelle had to go back to work.”
McKim’s own LinkedIn profile shows that she has worked constantly since July 2008 — four months before President Obama was elected.
From July 2008 to May 2010, she worked as an office manager for Mission Basement Company, her husband’s company, out of the family’s home in Castle Rock.
Since 2010, she has worked in Colorado’s oil and gas industry: she served as assistant to the GM of Wattenberg Anadarko Petroleum from May 2010 to August 2013; since then, she’s been employed as an engineering technologist by Noble Energy, where she works currently.
Reached by phone Thursday afternoon at her office, McKim explained that she went back to work in 2010 because it was too tough making ends meet on her husband’s income.
“It wasn’t the Affordable Care Act,” she said. “It was just a financial burden, having a single income for so long.”
When she was working from home, McKim and her young children were covered under her health insurance plan and her husband went without insurance. Adding him to the plan would have cost the family an extra $800 a month because he’d been treated for high blood pressure.
“He had no insurance and that was a very good thing for us,” she said. “We were able to choose if we wanted health insurance or not.”
The Affordable Care Act, which now lowers costs for people with preexisting conditions like high blood pressure, mandated that all individuals get health insurance by the end of last year.
“It’s alarming that when we have illegals here, they can still choose if they want health care, but we as citizens no longer have that choice,” McKim said.
McKim’s husband is now covered under her employee plan offered by Noble, which offers medical, dental and prescription insurance plans to its employees; Anadarko, her previous employer, also offers medical plans.
“I went back to work to get benefits,” she said.
Anadarko Petroleum is currently the biggest contributor to GOP Congressman Cory Gardner’s campaign to unseat Udall, having given $57,550 through the company’s political action committee, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Noble Energy has given Gardner’s campaign $36,000 to date.
McKim said she was connected with Crossroads GPS through “a friend of a friend” and that she’s pleased with the ad’s portrayal.
“I think it captured the heart of my message, which is that entrepreneurship is a risk and when you’re imposing overreaching policies that mandate people have to buy things they can’t afford, it takes that away,” she said.