Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Group protests McMorris Rodgers' Spokane speech

Posted By on Wed, Jun 8, 2011 at 1:53 PM

This afternoon, U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Eastern Washington, spoke to a paying audience about healthcare at the Red Lion Hotel in downtown Spokane.

A couple of blocks away, a small group protested.

It started at noon. Around 20 people stood on the island at Division Street and North River Drive, holding signs that read “Save Medicare, Tax Wall St.” and “McMorris Kills Medicare.” The group primarily took exception with McMorris Rodgers' vote for Paul Ryan's conservative healthcare plan.

At one point, a grizzled semi-truck driver stuck his raised thumb at the group, honking his horn and slowing to show his support.

The organizer for the event, Bethany Heath, secretary for the Spokane County Democrats, says she’s “appalled” by the debate surrounding healthcare.

“I understand some people’s trepidation over the debt, and I agree with getting that under control, but I don’t agree with the way that it’s being handled,” she says.

Heath contacted local unions, asking for support, and was joined by members of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.

“I’m against the corporate greed,” says Amy Cowin, one of the union's members, brandishing a large sign that reads “Save Medicare, Fire Cathy."

Community members also participated, including Christine Clark, a retired clinical lab tech who depends on Medicare for health insurance.

“I believe every one of us has a place in this earth,” she says, waving and shouting “Medicare for all!” at cars driving by.

The protest was not only small, but short lived, with participants leaving the area within the hour.

But, Heath says, even if a thousand showed up to the protest, it would not change her mind. Rather, she says the purpose of the protest was “informative picketing,” to create awareness of McMorris Rodgers' stance.

“We’re not picking on [her], we’re just picking on the situation,” she says. “We’re just trying to make people aware of how she votes.”

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