Demonstrating outside Rep. Dave Reichert’s office by Nate Jackson
Over 70 of us gathered outside of Rep. Reichert's office on Mercer Island to tell the congressman that we need good jobs, not spending cuts. We set up outside at a major intersection and shouted “Jobs, not Cuts!"
Passing vehicles, pedestrians and locals applauded or stopped by to talk with us and snap pictures. MoveOn, Center for Community Change, Washington CAN and Working Washington were asking a simple question to Reichert: "Where are the jobs?"
Rep. Reichert would not speak to us. He ignored us completely. He even refused to talk to a woman who he knew from his church. She approached the office by herself and his staff turned her away--they didn’t want to hear from us.
One man grabbed the microphone and started telling us his story, since Reichert wouldn’t listen. He lives in Reichert’s district and he was disappointed in the lack of representation that Reichert has given him.
“I worked for the military and the government all my life,” he said. “I never thought they would turn their back on me.”
The man was tall and imposing, but the feeling you got from him was a deep sadness that all the work he had done had been taken away from him. He spoke about how his retirement funds are wrapped up in his home, and how he lost his home because of unfair banking practices, which Republicans like Rep. Reichert did not protect him from.
Others stood up to share their story about how they have been represented by Reichert for a long time, but he has done nothing for them. One young man talked about how as a college graduate with a 3.8 GPA he could not find work anywhere until he started looking overseas.
“They knew my value over there,” the recent college graduate said. “They invited me to work and I had to take it. Why do we let our youngest and brightest get left behind?”
Reichert and other elected officials can’t hide behind office doors when they are supposed to be representing us. They need to understand that the only crisis in Amer
ica is a jobs crisis. We want good jobs and they will keep hearing that message until it sinks in and they start doing what they were elected to do: represent us.
Mercer Island is not known as a bastion of progressives, but the crowd swelled with onlookers who quietly asked us one on one what we were all about. We shared our personal stories and why we have joined many organizations together to fight for good jobs. Most of the onlookers went back to their busy day with a thoughtful connection and a better idea of how many people were angry at the lack of action being taken over our jobs crisis.
Rep. Reichert may not have wanted to hear from us, but they will when we come back on Thursday, Aug. 18 from 9:30 am to noon. This time, we are bringing more friends and organizations, and we’ll be having some fun too.