Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison hosted a rally for furloughed federal employees in Minneapolis on October 7. More than 19,000 Minnesotans work for the federal government and have felt the effects of the shutdown.
“The bottom line is that this shutdown is wrong, that this shutdown was planned,” Ellison said. Ellison was joined by numerous Minnesota federal employees who told their stories about how the shutdown had affected them. Vicky Sirovy, President of the American Federation of Government Employees local 1969, reminded the audience that, “These are not just federal employees. This is your mother, your sister, your uncle.”
Ellison also talked about the Affordable Care Act, saying, “Republicans don’t dislike the Affordable Care Act because they think it won’t work, it’s because they think it will, and they fear that.” He called out Republican Congressmen and women for choosing to go the route of the shutdown, “Instead of saying we agree with the Supreme Court, we agree with the legislative process, we agree with the American voters.”
Jon Frasz was among the community members who attended the rally. “I believe in this system and what these people are doing is sabotaging it. If we’re not engaged in this we don’t have a democracy,” Frasz said. He was not alone in calling for action from citizens. Ellison and the other speakers encouraged everybody to call their congressmen and remind them that they work for us. Frasz points to a quote that he heard (but could not recall the speaker) that sums up his belief about politics, “Participation in the rights of democracy requires participation in the responsibilities.”
This is one of a number of articles produced by student interns at the TC Daily Planet.
Reporting for this article supported in part by Bush Foundation.