ESCANABA - Horns were honked, chants were heard, and signs were held high as a group of concerned citizens rallied in Escanaba Monday in support of working families and against the governor's proposed budget.
The group of about 300 people gathered at the intersection of Lincoln Road and Ludington Street and included a variety of individuals, both union and non-union, said rally organizer Matt Edgell, UniServe director for the local Michigan Education Association.
"It's not about union. There are union and non-union people here," he said. "This is about supporting working families and the affects of Gov. Snyder's shifting of the tax burden to those who can least support it."
Participants support working class families as they voice concerns on Gov. Rick Snyder’s budget during a rally in Escanaba Monday afternoon. Organizers estimated about 300 people lined the intersection at Lincoln Road and Ludington Street. (Daily Press photo by Jenny Lancour)
Rally participants stand at the intersection of Lincoln Road and Ludington Street Monday. Attendees included a variety of individuals, both union and non-union. (Daily Press photo by Jenny Lancour)
Areas of concern include current legislation which reduces earned income credit, pensions, and school aid, placing a $1.4 billion tax burden on middle- and low-income working families, he explained.
"You can't fix the economy on the backs of the poor, students and retirees," Edgell said.
"This is an attack on their way of life," he added, describing the mood of the rally participants as being "respectful" but "mad as hell."
The group that gathered in Escanaba was among several similar rallies taking place across the state as well as nationwide Monday in memory of the death of Martin Luther King who tried to help the poorest of workers, Edgell said.
"The rally is one of thousands all over the country on April 4 in honor of Martin Luther King who died on this day in 1968 while fighting for the rights of common people everywhere," Edgell said in a press release announcing Monday's local event.
A similar rally supporting the middle class is scheduled to take place at the Marquette County Courthouse in Marquette April 13, he added.
During Monday's rally in Escanaba, participants chanted "Hey, hey. Ho, ho. Rick Snyder's gotta' go!"
Signs included the following: "We are one. Respect our rights," "Keep the Dream Alive," "Union Rights are Human Rights," "Mess with the middle class, we multiply," "Save veterans pensions" and "Unions=Democracy."
Other signs read: "For sale: My school, my town, my county. Reasonable rates. Call Rick Snyder @ (517) 373-3400."