15 Sep 2014
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Jobs is the Theme as Protesters Rally Again at Reichert Office

Around 100 people waved signs and shouted slogans in front of U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert's office on Mercer Island as onlookers shouted support and passing motorist honked horns in support.

Protesters lined 78th Ave. SE again near 's office Wednesday, demonstrating against what they viewed as inaction in Congress to address unemployment. 

The protest, one of 250 organized nationwide by left-leaning political action group MoveOn.org, featured a gathering of constituents and political activists who wanted to share their stories of how joblessness has affected them, their families, and their communities on the Eastside and the Seattle and Tacoma area.

Billed as part of the "American Dream Movement", MoveOn.org-partner  Center for Community Change organizer Rich Stolz said the "day of action" was an appeal to various members of congress to focus on things they could do to spur job creation.

"We need more jobs," he said. "All of the talk about cuts is not helping."

The protest comes a week after Congress agreed to an Aug. 1 deficit reduction package of legislation in order to raise the nation's debt limit, thereby avoiding a default.

"This debt deal is not perfect," said Reichert in a prepared statement, "but this compromise, which passed today with my support, begins to restore fiscal sanity by cutting spending by a larger amount than the debt limit is increased and capping future spending to limit the growth of government; avoiding the consequences of a default without raising taxes or cutting seniors’ benefits. I am encouraged by the fact that this compromise will provide an incentive for the Administration to rally support for a balanced budget amendment, which I feel is essential to ensuring long-term fiscal accountability."

to protest Reichert's stand on deficit reduction and his support of the U.S. House-version, called "Cut, Cap and Balance". He has also been an outspoken proponent of pending free-trade agreements with several major international trading partners, such as South Korea.

Former King County building inspector David Maulding — who criticized Reichert's positions at the rally, said those agreements will cause further job losses in the U.S. as companies seek to outsource work to those counties.

"There is no such thing as fair trade," he said. "Boeing in China is selling parts to Boeing in Renton. It's basically a tax dodge."

Maulding, who was laid-off in 2008 has been unable to find similar work elsewhere in the depressed economy, was forced to sell his Renton home in a short-sale and said he's had a difficult time finding employment in his mid-50s.

"(King) County has a program where they try to replace you, but it wasn't looking good for me. I've taken what's basically a janitor's position to make ends meet," he said.

Protesters walked to the front door of Reichert's office to deliver a "Contract for the American Dream" which resembles the Republican Party's "Contract With America" pledge from the 1990s, but lists 10 pledges that support domestic spending programs meant to create middle-class jobs.

Onlookers were mostly receptive to the gathering, frequently honking horns as they drove by the plaza near Reichert's office opposite and the .

"I'm very pleased to see the honking and the clapping in support of the protestors," said resident Terry Magaram, who was out walking her dog.

Local developer Bob Thorpe said he was interested by the protest but remained philosophical about their reasons.

"The ultra-left doesn't want any cuts, while the ultra-right — the so-called Tea Party — is as scary as Hitler's Brownshirts," he said. "Everybody needs to move to the center."

Olympia resident John Bakewell, who was at QFC waiting to pick up his son from classes at the and saw the crowd, said he wasn't sure what jobs the gathering was focused on.

"One thing I've noticed all my life as a school district employee is there's always wasteful spending somewhere," he said. "This county's in a position of dire straits. Something's got to be done."

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