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Demonstrators protest lack of jobs, decry gap between rich and poor

Protest rally organizers Joe Seemen (at bullhorn) and Susan Weber (center, rear) lead a chant of ‘Jobs, Not Cuts’ in front of the Glens Falls office of U.S. Rep Chris Gibson, who they said was following failed economic policies that enrich the wealthy while squeezing the finances of the middle class and the poor. Gibson representatives welcomed the protest, while declaring that Gibson is taking action to advocate for job development and equality in taxation.

Protest rally organizers Joe Seemen (at bullhorn) and Susan Weber (center, rear) lead a chant of ‘Jobs, Not Cuts’ in front of the Glens Falls office of U.S. Rep Chris Gibson, who they said was following failed economic policies that enrich the wealthy while squeezing the finances of the middle class and the poor. Gibson representatives welcomed the protest, while declaring that Gibson is taking action to advocate for job development and equality in taxation. Photo by Thom Randall.

— Neal Herr listened to Weber’s pleas.

“The nation isn’t broke, it’s just misled,” he said.

Mike Parwana of Lake Luzerne protested that the public was duped into ditching pensions for 401k plans that plummeted in value; and that top CEOs, regardless of the billions of wealth they destroyed, were paid millions of dollars in bonuses despite their incompetence.

Rally organizer Joe Seemen took his turn behind the group’s bullhorn and stood behind a caricature of Chris Gibson: a cardboard cutout of his face stuck in a stuffed dummy garbed in a business suit and adorned with signs suggesting Gibson is aligned with corporations, not citizens struggling with the economic slump.

“Chris Gibson, you’ve been standing up for Wall Street, billionaires, insurance companies, and military contractors,” he barked. “We need you to represent Main Street, the middle class and poor people.”

Inside Gibson’s office, the Congressman’s local representative, Mark Westcott, watched the protests and listened to chants of “People Over Profits.”

“We welcome the protesters — this is part of the democratic process,” he said, referring policy questions to Stephanie Valle, who works for Gibson in Washington D.C. “It’s encouraging to have this type of public dialogue.”

Rachael Shafer of Chestertown stood just outside the office window, wearing Mardi Gras glasses, a grin and a sign that read: “Freedom is Not Equal to ‘Greedom.’”

“Government cuts take dollars out of circulation,” she said. “We’ve had 30 years of tax cuts to Wall Street, and that represents wealth that goes directly to the rich, and not the people who need it.”

Seemen drowned out her voice with his protests amplified through the bullhorn.

“Chris Gibson, we want you to stand up and put America back to work,” he said.

In a phone call from Washington D.C., Valle said later that Gibson was taking every effort to do so.

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