Feb. 6, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Lawmakers Facing Disgruntled Voters Back Home

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During the August recess, Rep. Kevin Brady faced anger from tea party activists over the debt ceiling deal.

Felicia Cravens, a board member for Mertes’ group, said tea party leaders are encouraging activists to locate town hall meetings using an online tracking system set up by Washington, D.C.-based libertarian group FreedomWorks.

The site includes information about the recently passed compromise and an “August Recess Action Kit” with talking points for town hall attendees.

“When we can provide activists solid information, they react,” Cravens said. “There is a real serious doubt about the sustainability of what we’re doing financially.”

Cravens said she expects tea partyers to keep the pressure on lawmakers as the super committee deliberates on cuts.

“When [lawmakers] go off the rails, we’re going to publicize the heck out of it,” she said.

Liberal activists under the newly formed American Dream Movement banner have held more than 40 protests nationwide demanding fewer cuts and more job-creation programs.

“More and more American workers are convinced that there is plenty of money in this country. It’s just not being invested in people,” said Mary Kay Henry, president of Service Employees International Union, which supports the American Dream Movement.

In Pennsylvania last week, activists carried a coffin to the Middletown office of Republican Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick to symbolize the death of the middle class.

“American working people are going to keep the drumbeat going and insisting the government and the private sector get us back to work,” Henry said.

In Wisconsin, eight unemployed individuals staged a sit-in at a district office of Republican Rep. Paul Ryan. They demanded an in-person meeting with the lawmaker to discuss job-creation ideas.

Protester Shanon Molina, a Kenosha resident and mother, said she was scouring newspapers for jobs as she sat in Ryan’s office. The former office administrator lost her job two weeks ago.

“I’m really feeling ignored,” she said. “If you want to stimulate the economy, you have to help the people, not businesses.”

Ryan spokesman Kevin Seifert said the lawmaker has offered to host a conference call with the protesters but is unable to fit them into a busy August schedule of constituent meetings, tours of local businesses and telephone town halls.

But Molina said she wants an in-person meeting, just like the ones that Ryan has held with Wisconsin business owners.

“I’ll be there until his office closes. I’ll be here on Monday, I’ll be here on Tuesday, Wednesday. I’ll be here until he shows up or I find a job,” she said.

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