Cathe Muller, front left, and Carol Barnes, front right, both of Sequim, speak about issues important to them during a meet-and-greet session at a MoveOn.org session May 4 in the Guy Cole Center. “The only way to reform anything is that every candidate must be given only a certain amount of money,” Muller said. “Also media must give time for debates for everybody.” Sequim Gazette photos by Matthew Nash
More than 215 people frustrated with corporations lobbying government officials came together May 4 through the efforts of the Clallam County chapter of MoveOn.org.
The forum was titled "Waking Up From the American Dream."
Clallam County Commissioner Steve Tharinger,
Sequim Mayor Pro Tem Laura Dubois, and community church and business leaders were in the audience but did not participate.
Ed Evans, retired KIRO-TV news bureau chief, facilitated audience participation while MoveOn members wrote ideas on a large piece of butcher paper.
A few of the problems and solutions listed by participants were:
Focus on jobs
Buy local foods and products
Create term limits
Increase vesting time or abolish pensions for representatives who serve only two years
Forget about big banks and focus on community banks
Get behind public support of candidates
Insurance and medical problems, such as paying $17,000 a year for insurance.
Evans encouraged people to share testimonials on how corporate influence has affected their lives.
Molly Nagin, 17, of Sequim said her 20-year-old boyfriend is struggling to make it because he has cancer, no insurance and is the first one in his family to attend college.
She said she was encouraged because financial issues seemed to unite most of the crowd.
"I thought it was all conservatives," Nagin said.
"It's something that can bring us together with issues like federal reserves."
Speakers with health care, environmental and law backgrounds opened the evening with short talks.
They were Eddy Hayes, organizer for Service Employees International Union Healthcare; Bill Kildall of Clallam County Council of MoveOn.org and facilitator of Healthcare Now; Ben Greuel, public lands organizer for Sierra Club; and Virginia Shogren, an attorney specializing in patent, intellectual property, trademarks and copyright law.
Hayes said big banks foreclose often while other large banks spend $1.4 million a day lobbying against reform that could prevent problems.
"Is Congress working for a big CEO who bought them the boat or the American people who voted them in?"
Kildall, who coordinated the Mad as Hell Doctor's forum, said Healthcare NOW started as a small, multi-
political party group interested in single-payer health care. In four months it grew to 700 people.
Local MoveOn.org coordinator Richard Gray said people came to the forum from communities from Port Townsend to Joyce and said they had learned about it through e-mails, fliers and phone calls.
"We're trying to get more progressive people involved," Gray said.
The group had been inactive but rekindled during the health care discussions in June 2009. It now has 30 council members and welcomes more.
"We need to get off our butts," one man said during his one minute to talk.
"We may not like what the (Tea Party movement) are doing, but they've set the precedent. We need to get on the streets."
MoveOn.org is a nationwide group with more than
5 million participants.
Sequim's event ran in conjunction with MoveOn national events the week of May 3-7, when more than 5,000 people nationwide participated.
Ideas taken from these events are online for members to rank in order of importance.
At a glance What: MoveOn.org council meeting When: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 19 Where: Olympic Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall, 73 Howe Road, off Barr Road, Agnew Contact: Richard Gray at 477-4533 or richard email@example.com for more information on Clallam County MoveOn.org. Find more online at www.moveon.org.
Reach Matthew Nash at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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