Friday, April 16, 2010

Idaho Public Employees Union Rallies Against Cuts and for Solution at Capitol

Posted By on Fri, Apr 16, 2010 at 3:22 PM

  • Josh Gross
About 30 representatives and members of of the Idaho Association of Government Employees/SEIU, the Idaho public employees union, rallied on the capitol steps Friday morning to protest cuts to state services and jobs, and to push candidates in the upcoming election to make clear their plans to solve for Idaho's revenue crisis.

"These cuts hurt everyone," said union representative Daniel Wolf, asserting that closing offices and limiting services only further clogs what's left, making it more difficult for everyone, rich and poor alike, to live a productive life.

"We save nothing by cutting jobs or lengthening lines," said Wolf.

Wolf then told the audience that they needed to start asking every candidate what they will do to help state employees. Wolf yielded the stage to a disabled state employee to tell her story and share her frustrations with the cuts.

Wolf told BW that the rally was the first step toward energizing and mobilizing Idaho's voter base for the fall elections and that they have a series of candidate forums planned for the summer.

"Every voter needs to start asking candidates these questions," Wolf says. He added that he's not passing the buck by pushing voters to ask rather than using his position as a union rep to demand answers because candidates should be listening to their constituents. "We need to start voting in candidates that support public services," he said.

Wolf also said they specifically want Gov. C. L. "Butch" Otter to respond, but didn't ask him to speak today because he had a conflicting speaking engagement in the afternoon, though Wolf said he was considering pressing Otter for answers at that appearance.

Then a member of the audience approached us in the midst of an interview and asked Wolf if he could adjust the microphone, as she was having trouble hearing the speaker over the sound of lawnmower tending the park across the street.

The rally was a far cry from the estimated 2,000 tea party protesters that rallied at the Capitol steps just the day before.

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