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Activists Rally in Beacon

Dave Lucas/WAMC
Dave Lucas/WAMC

On the occasion of the release of a report about income taxes on the wealthy by the advocacy groups Americans for Tax Fairness, Citizens for Tax Justice and the National Women's Law Center---  and marking Monday's 47th anniversary of the 1965, signing of the federal law to establish the Medicare retirement health care program by President Lyndon Johnson---  representatives of advocacy and labor groups rallied in Beacon - Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas was there and files this report.

About 2 dozen activisits representing several grass-roots organizations including Citizen Action of New York, and Mid-Hudson Valley 99 Percent, gathered at the Dutchess County Senior Friendship Center in Beacon, where Congresswoman Nan Hayworth was scheduled meet with residents at One Forrestal Heights, a senior assisted housing complex.

The activists say they had tried several times to set up meetings with Hayworth, but calls were not returned. So, 99-per center Willie Reed, explained the need to see the Congresswoman in person

The Demonstrators were let into the meeting by  resident Zeb  Jafek-

Once inside, the activists were confronted by police and other officials, but promised they wouldn't disrupt the late morning gathering - they kept their word - but Congresswoman Hayworth fielded tough questions anyway from residents, whose concerns included raising the minimum wage, spending money on war and weapons, providing more jobs for Americans, Affordable Health Care, and one of the activisits' main concerns: urging lawmakers to repeal the Bush Tax cuts.

Hayworth told the seniors she respects them and vowed to "look out for their best interests" in Washington. Her visit concluded without incident, although she did encounter one of the activists while leaving the meeting- Addison Goodson of Beacon,  asked Hayworth about a minimum wage increase

Aides immediately stepped in and spirited Hayworth away into a waiting car - without further comment  - I asked Goodson why we confronted the Congresswoman

The activists scheduled other events in Binghamton, New York City, Rochester, and Syracuse. They also promise to show up at Congressman Paul Tonko’s Town Hall Meeting, tonight in Albany at Hackett Middle School.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.