Inspired by the recently passed national debt deal, local members of the progressive MoveOn coalition organized the event to protest the plan they say, in a press release, "will do nothing to create jobs, forces deep cuts to important programs that protect the middle class [and] asks nothing of big corporations and millionaires."
Elected representatives, labor leaders and other speakers echoed that sentiment as they led the crowd in chants of "jobs, not cuts!"
Local radio host Lesley Groetsch emceed the event, telling attendees that "the tea-partyers and Republicans were sent to office to focus on jobs, and they've done nothing. We need to focus on jobs."
Alluding to recent actions by the Republican-controlled General Assembly to change Buncombe County's election laws and draw most of Asheville out of the 11th Congressional District, Groetsch charged that "if you're a town of progressives, you have a target on your backs."
Buncombe Democratic Rep. Patsy Keever echoed that sentiment in her remarks, asserting that "the tea party has devastated our country and community." To fund government programs and lower the debt, Keever garnered applause when she declared that she supports "raising taxes for people who can afford to pay higher taxes."
Noting that 396 billionaires live in the U.S. — five times more than any other nation (China is No. 2 with 72 billionaires) — Mark Case of the Western North Carolina Central Labor Council argued that "there's wealth in this country; it's just not with the workers." He blamed Republicans for that disparity, adding that he thinks President Barack Obama has "done more for the common worker than any other president in history."
The rally corresponded with MoveOn's release of its "Contract for the American Dream," a plan that the group says would create jobs and get the economy back on track. Organizers delivered the proposal to North Carolina Senators Kay Hagan and Richard Burr, as well as Rep. Heath Shuler. Click here for more details on the plan.
Photos of the rally:
Photos by Jerry Nelson, JourneyAmerica.org
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