Campus Notebook: Members Listen as Protesters Lament Economy
In groups as small as a handful and as large as dozens, members of a coalition of labor and community groups camped out Tuesday in Congressional offices and in the hallways outside, waiting to talk with lawmakers about jobs, unemployment benefits and other economic issues.
The day went mostly without incident — the sit-ins were peaceful and many of them resulted in meetings with Members such as GOP Reps. John Kline (Minn.), Ron Paul (Texas), Charles Bass (N.H.) and Sean Duffy (Wis.), according to Krysta Curl of the American Dream Movement, an umbrella organization that includes the Service Employees International Union and MoveOn.org.
Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) also spent about half an hour speaking with constituents, including 56-year-old Mary Barker and 70-year-old Barbara Billingsley.
The women said they met and became friends during their unsuccessful efforts during the past several months to schedule meetings with Camp in his Midland, Mich., office.
“I want him to know what’s going on in his district,” said Barker, who said her job as an elementary school library media specialist was eliminated in August 2009. “I don’t think he understands how bad it is there.”
Not everything went smoothly for the throng of activists, who estimated their number at 3,000.
Curl said the offices of Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.) were locked to protesters.
Ryan spokesman Kevin Seifert confirmed that a sign was posted on the office door that said only scheduled appointments would be granted. He said protesters were kept out of the office in accordance with “general guidance to offices from Capitol Police.”
Capitol Police spokeswoman Sgt. Kimberly Schneider reported one arrest for “unlawful entry” into the Longworth office of Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.).
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