Inside the office of Senator Joseph Zarelli, R-18
  • Mariah McKay, Washington CAN
  • Inside the office of Senator Joseph Zarelli, R-18

Via Washington CAN:

This afternoon over 50 community members held a sit-in at Senator Joseph Zarelli’s office in Olympia telling the Senator to “stop playing politics with people’s lives” and to raise revenue instead of cutting the programs that families and communities rely on.

The sit-in was held in response to the Republican budget and the undemocratic way in which it was passed...

The budget eliminates the State Food Assistance Program, and cuts millions from programs such as Disability Lifeline (which offers medical and housing support to disabled adults in Washington), k-12 education, higher education, TANF, the Housing and Essential Needs program, and Homeless Assistance to name a few.

“I am tired of legislators playing political games that hurt Washington families,” said Yolanda Tinoco, Washington CAN! member whose family relies on state food assistance. “These cuts threaten the health and future of my three daughters. I make a sacrifice to pay my fair share, but it feels like legislators are always favoring the 1%, at the expense of the rest of us.”

Community members noted that they would sit-in the office until they were able to meet with the Senator and voice their concerns about the budget. They held signs reading “Stop playing politics with people’s lives” and led a teach-in around the regressive nature of Washington’s tax structure. Community members stressed the importance of raising revenue to stop the dire budget cuts.

After being asked to leave by security and refusing, a small group of activists were escorted from the premises by police. It was clear the group was making a political statement, as they obliged by officers demands and left willingly with police.

When asked why she risked arrest, Angela O’Brien, a Seattle resident, long-time activist and member of Washington CAN! said, “Our government is supposed to be a government for the people by the people. But this budget was passed before the public even had a chance to look at it! It infuriates me that instead of cutting tax loopholes, they’re choosing to balance the budget on the backs of our children and the most vulnerable in our state. It’s unacceptable and that is not what our democracy stands for.”