Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Senator Cantwell Visits Olympia On Jobs for Washington Tour

Above: Senator Maria Cantwell listens to Brad Shell, general manager of Fish Brewing Company, address a crowd gathered tonight at Rambling Jack's in downtown Olympia.
Senator Cantwell Visits Olympia on Jobs for Washington Tour
By Janine Unsoeld

In a whirlwind, state-wide, multi-city Jobs For Washington tour, United States Senator Maria Cantwell stopped in Olympia tonight to get out the vote and rally for candidates and positions near and dear to the Democratic Party.

Cantwell, who is running for re-election, has a Republican challenger, Washington State Senator Michael Baumgartner, but he was not mentioned nor did Cantwell seem worried about her re-election, instead focusing on the issues.
The back room at Rambling Jack's restaurant in downtown Olympia was packed with supporters, local elected officials including State Senator Karen Fraser and several members of the Olympia City Council, congressional candidate Denny Heck, secretary of state candidate Kathleen Drew, and local business and Democratic party leaders.

Brad Shell, general manager of the Olympia-based Fish Brewing Company, addressed the crowd, thanking Cantwell for supporting the federal loan assistance program and recovery act that allowed him and his company to receive a $1 million Small Business Association loan in January of 2010. With those funds, Shell said, Fish Brewing was able expand and create 38 new jobs, and open a new pub in Everett.  Cantwell returned the compliment, saying her favorite drink is Fish Tale’s hard pear cider.
Denny Heck, who is running for Washington’s newly created 10th district, also addressed the crowd. Cantwell called Heck tenacious, talented, and smart, saying, “I can’t wait to see him tangle with Paul Ryan!” to loud cheers and applause.

Cantwell emphasized the continued need to build a strong, skilled work force, saying Boeing will need 20,000 new aerospace workers in the next 10 years to meet demand and stay competitive. She called for continued investment in job creation, the prioritization of education and increased access to capital funding to support local economies. She also said she would work to change current filibuster rules in Congress.
She told a personal story - her father never let her go to school on election day. Instead, her job that day was to get out the vote: knock on neighbors' doors, ask them if they have voted, and go back home to report her progress to her father. 

One day, she knocked on her teacher’s door, who was home sick.  Her teacher told her she was not going to vote. Cantwell said she ran home, literally crying to her father that her teacher said she wasn’t going to vote.  “Isn’t she going to be arrested?” she asked her father. Cantwell said that her father had so ingrained in her that an American’s civic duty is to vote, that she thought one would be arrested for not voting.

She quoted Harry S. Truman, who said, “America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.” Then, addressing Social Security, Cantwell said, “I am going to fight to preserve Social Security for future generations, so it’s not about fear, it’s about strategy.”  
Cantwell is one of 28 senators who opposed cuts to Social Security in a letter organized by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) last month as Congress considers deficit-reducing packages.

Gar Lipow, an Olympia community member, issued a press release earlier today asking Cantwell to take what he called the “No Cat Food Pledge.” Outside the restaurant, dressed in a cat mask, Lipow handed out flyers and cat masks, inviting anyone to wear one. Lipgow said he is glad many Democrats won’t support cuts to Social Security and Medicare as part of a deficit deal but also asks that they not support such cuts as a means of "saving" these programs. On this Halloween night, he said he didn’t want seniors to live on cat food, or make choices between food and medications.
His mother, Ruth Lipow, 98, had a chance to speak with Cantwell after the rally. Lipow told this reporter that she volunteered for Frankin D. Roosevelt, walking precincts, when he was running for president in the 1930’s.

“He was so popular, back then, I didn’t know there were Republicans!” Lipow said her first job was working with machines for the National Youth Administration for $20 a month. “They trained me! That’s what we need now – we need another WPA (Works Progress Administration)!”
After the rally, Cantwell was asked by this reporter if she would raise the Social Security retirement age, one of the concerns raised by Gar Lipow. She said no, saying she would protect Social Security. 

A recent press release issued by Cantwell’s office says she has worked to protect Social Security from privatization schemes that would have resulted in deep cuts to the program and has helped block attempts that would have chipped away at Social Security to pay for new spending or tax cuts at the expense of seniors, retirees, and disabled workers.
Cantwell’s tour today included Aberdeen, Shelton and Olympia. Tomorrow, Cantwell’s Jobs for Washington tour bus goes to Bellingham, Mt. Vernon and Everett. Working through the weekend at other stops, she’ll wrap up with fellow Senator Patty Murray on Sunday in Seattle and Spokane.