Bush appearance protested

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – On March 18, over 100 people protested a fundraiser for the Senate campaign of Rep. Jim Talent (R-Mo.) at the St. Louis Convention Center. President George W. Bush, the event’s guest of honor, was met with chants as he entered the event.

Demonstrators expressed many reasons for being at the protest. Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 2000 Vice President Barbara Black said, “Bush and Talent have voted against everything that supports working families.”

Talent voted against raising the minimum wage from $4.25 to the current $5.15. Talent was also one of 111 House members who voted against funding that would continue the Women’s Educational Equity Act. Programs under this Act provide resources and funding to states and schools to eliminate gender bias, prevent sexual harassment and increase opportunities for women in non-traditional fields through leadership training.

Mike Louis, business agent for Machinists Local 777, called on Bush, “to repeal legislation that has cost 800,000 U.S. jobs. I urge the President to repeal NAFTA.”

A central theme of the protest was the Enron debacle. “These guys are stealing millions of dollars,” said Black.

Daniel Spring, a member of Local 2000, demanded, “President Bush, give back the money you got from Enron!”

Between 1993 and 2001 Enron contributed $736,800 directly to George W. Bush. Enron also donated $888,265 to the Republican National Committee during the 2000 election.

Mark Fraley, an organizer for Missouri Pro-Vote, said, “We want to draw attention to Bush’s ties to Enron. This is a political scandal, not just a business scandal. Thirty two million in Missouri state pension funds were lost because of the Enron scandal.”

“We need a leadership based on the needs of the people,” Fraley continued, “not marinated corporate culture.”

Four members of the Bush administration worked for Enron and Vice President Cheney has refused to release details of his secret meetings with Enron officials on the administration’s energy policy.

Members of Missouri Public Interest Group protested that policy’s proposed drilling for oil in Alaska.