JAMESTOWN – A group of concerned citizens set up a protest in downtown Jamestown Tuesday to participate in what they are calling “A Day of Action” against the current government shutdown in Washington. The protest took place on the corner of N. Main and Second Streets in front of the Fenton Building, where Congressman Tom Reed’s office is located.
According to organizer Cath Kestler of Silver Creek, the event was intended to draw attention to resident’s displeasure over the shutdown and an unwillingness to cooperate in Washington.
“This is what we call a fiscal day of action,” Kestler said. “We want him to know that we are all about getting [federal workers] back to work. We want the government to open back up. We want them to pay their bills. And to stop holding the American public hostage. It’s not fair. They collect their checks – for doing hardly any work – and they don’t vote for what we want, they have their own special agenda and they don’t truly represent what we want.”
About 20 residents showed up for the protest, including Diane Clark of Dunkirk, who said she wanted the protest and others like it to serve as a wake up call for lawmakers in Washington.
“This is what Captain Smith should have seen on that dark night on the Titanic. This is the tip of the iceberg,” Clark said. “I believe the American public is fed up. Each one of us here represents 12 to 15 people who have children, or the lucky ones who have jobs that couldn’t come down here today. We’re just one small city but I think there is going to be a welling and a swelling of America to protest this.”
Kestler said she and the other protestors were especially upset with Congress Tom Reed for his unwillingness to support legislation from the Senate that would end the shutdown. She said he even voted on legislation that would make it even more difficult for an agreement to be reached.
“Congressman Reed brought to the floor House Resolution 368, which prevents anybody but speaker John Boehner from bring the Senate Clean CR to the floor. So no one else is allowed to bring it to the floor but speaker Boehner. This was Reed’s answer to us. We’re here to tell him that we want a clean C.R. and we don’t want a debt ceiling.”
According to the Jamestown Post-Journal, the protesters placed a call to his office in Washington, but were unable to reach him.
In a statement from Congressman Reed’s Office, the 2nd term republican said that Congress needs to not only deal with the government shutdown and potential default, but what he called the country’s out-of-control spending and deep-rooted financial troubles. Reed also said that it is the Senate that must join the House and put the country on a path toward living within its means or continue down the path of shutdown and default.