By Andrea Salazar
Demanding good jobs for the 99 percent, protesters from around the country took their message to members of Congress Tuesday as part of the “Take Back the Capitol” rally.
Elbridge James, president of the board at Progressive Maryland, one of the participating organizations, said the group is in support of a plan to put people back to work at a time when the unemployment rate sits at 8.6 percent.
“We need our congressional representatives to work with the executive branch to come up with a jobs plan that puts people back to work,” James said. “In the interim, we need the extension of the unemployment benefits, so people have a floor that they can stand on and not be afraid of not being able to provide for their children.”
A group from Houston held a sit-in at Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s (R-Texas) office chanting “this is what democracy looks like” and “we are the 99 percent.” They met with Hutchison’s legislative director, but came to no agreement. The group promised to stay in the office until the senator agreed to meet with them.
Hutchison’s staff called the meeting “civil,” but said the senator would not be changing her position against the president’s jobs bill.
Other protesters visited the offices of Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Rob Johnson (R-Wisc.). CNN reported protests at other offices on the Hill, including Sens. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Reps. John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).
Most of the protesters were older individuals who were unemployed or underemployed. They said they funded their visits with donations and sponsorships from activist groups.
“Take Back The Capitol” is a week-long event by community, labor and Occupy organizations from across the country. For more information about the demonstrations, visit their website.
Janie Amaya contributed to this story.