We stand up for a Massachusetts where everyone gets a fair shot, does and pays their fair share, and plays by the same rules.
By Massachusetts Fair Share Media and Communications Intern Lauren Cappelloni.
On the 16th day of the shutdown veterans, tenants and government workers spoke about how the shutdown affects their lives. This “Cease and Desist” order on Wednesday at the Republican Party headquarters in Boston was sponsored by the Budget for All Campaign supported by the Alliance of HUD Tenants, American Federation of Government Employees, Massachusetts Fair Share and other social justice groups.
Massachusetts Fair Share Director Nathan Proctor
“The job of congress is to make government work better for the people, not stop it from working.”
Massachusetts Fair Share state director Nathan Proctor said people all over the country are suffering while the government continues widening the income gap. From working students who cannot apply for much-needed loans to medical employees who cannot continue researching cancer and possible cures, the shutdown is hurting everyone. He said the government must work together and address inequalities.
Boston resident Cheryl Semnack with City Life
“They think I’m a dead-beat even though I’ve been paying rent for the last 17 years.”
Boston resident Cheryl Semnack said she has been on the housing list for 17 years and the shutdown is only making her situation worse. She is having trouble meeting an increasing rent with a low-paying job, so she filed for an emergency case with the housing authority. However, she was denied a voucher because she cannot meet the qualifications. The government needs to get everyday people the help they need, she said. Semnack came with the City Life group, organized by Maria Blanco. Blanco said the shutdown is compounding on the housing crisis, which has been struggling since 2008 due to problems with Fannie & Freddie withholding money for affordable housing.
Carolyn Federoff from the American Federation of Government Employees
“The short term goal is to have speaker Boehner let this vote go to the floor. The long term goal is to have the government share sacrifices.”
Carolyn Federoff from the American Federation of Government employees has been jobless for 16 days and said one of her co-workers took home a paycheck of $5 for 2 weeks after deductions were taken out as a result of the shutdown. She also highlighted that economy has been struggling all year as 2,000 children lost their Head Start placement this year, yet no one is seeing a reduction in child care taxes. She hopes the government can meet a long-term goal of sharing sacrifices between the low, middle and upper classes, she said.
Senior citizen and veteran John Ratliff with Veterans for Peace
“There needs to be less inequality and more money circulating. They’re shortsighted and it’s just wrong.”
Senior citizen and veteran John Ratliff with Veterans for Peace, said he thinks the possible cuts on Medicare, Medicaid and social security could be a major burden on senior citizens as he needs every cent to make ends meet and is concerned about the future. After serving in the Vietnam war and seeing the struggles veterans go through, he said the government needs to help them so they do not carry physical and mental scars throughout their lives. In addition, many senior citizens, including himself, have medical debt that will only be worsened by cuts to social security and add to financial instability. He hopes the government will invest in housing and health and hold big corporations more accountable.