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Dold Takes Five to Listen to Protesters

Members of Moveon.org, a liberal activist group, speak out on issues at his Northbrook office.

Protesters from the north suburbs aired a mixed bag of grievances with U.S. Rep. Robert Dold (R-IL) at his Northbrook office last week.

The five protesters who showed up Thursday for the speak-out, organized by liberal group Moveon.org, said they came to protest the growing gap between the rich and the poor in the U.S., a recent vote to defund Planned Parenthood, the rising cost of health insurance and continued high rates of unemployment in the country.

“Even if you won, it doesn’t mean that you only get to represent the people who vote for you,” said Harold Bland of Northfield.

Dold was among the Republicans who won their elections to the House in November and gained majority control of that legislative body.

According to protester George Lewis of Zion, at least 20 people as well as a protest coordinator were supposed to show up at Dold’s office, which is on the third floor of an office building on Dundee Road.  

Though he was in the midst of appointments, Dold set aside five minutes to meet with members of the group and listen to their concerns.

“We’d be interested in hearing how you feel about the budget,” said Susan Balaban, a Wilmette teacher who has been out of work for two years.

Dold said he thought spending cuts were necessary, but that both sides were to blame.

“We’ve seen an increase in spending on the Republican side and the Democrat side,” he said.

Citing his experience as president of his family’s pest extermination business, the freshman congressman added that he had wanted to take a businesslike approach to the budget problem, telling each department that it would have to set priorities in making spending cuts.

“That argument didn’t pass,” he said.

Balaban also brought up the recent congressional vote to prohibit federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

“Explain to me how that represents all of us when you take away funding from the poor to go to a doctor, to go to a clinic,” she said.

“I was one of seven Republicans who voted not to defund Planned Parenthood,” Dold countered.

Before he took off for his next meeting, Dold and the protesters shook hands.

“You’ve been very hospitable,” said Bland.

Although they left having shook hands, not all of the protesters felt they had been heard.

Northfield resident Susan Findlay said she had wanted to bring up health care but did not get the opportunity.

“My real concern is medical,” she said, explaining that she thought the U.S. should have a single-payer system for all citizens.

As she has grown older, Findlay said she has grown worried about the rising costs of health care. She called the government's inaction to lower the costs “meanness.”

Bland said the protest was inspired by the teacher protests in Wisconsin, and he had hoped more people would show up to speak out on that issue.

Lewis, too, hoped more people would have shown up.

“I wanted the protesting in Madison to spread to all major cities and be supported by all unions, with hundreds of thousands, hopefully millions across the nation, protesting and carrying signs,” he wrote later in an e-mail.

Unions and supporters have been demonstrating in Madison, WI, against legislation that would strip state union workers of their bargaining rights.

Lewis said he wanted the government to create tax incentives for companies to hire U.S. workers and to create a more progressive tax structure overall.

“Protesting and striking across the entire nation seems to be the only way this is going happen,” he said.

Dan C February 28, 2011 at 07:14 PM
Dold is proving himself to be a very competent, charming and centrist representative of the district. Maybe that's why the MoveOn.org rally was an embarassing flop.
Jennifer Fisher February 28, 2011 at 10:33 PM
Dan, thanks for your interest in this story! What do other people think? Is Dold doing a good job?
Deep Dish Pizza March 02, 2011 at 07:17 AM
A flop? It was the middle of the day Dan. Why do I have a hunch you're a Dold supporter? Not that there's anything wrong with that but you can hardly criticize these folks for stepping up & voicing their concerns to their representative. Oh wait. You did criticize them by calling their meeting with Dold "an embarrassing flop". An actual embarrassing flop is Dold's two-faced votes to protect air pollution and Big Oil. Last week's Natural Resources Defense Council poll found that even Republicans in the 10th district opposed Dold's votes catering to polluters and putting Congress in charge of defining air pollution instead of, say, EPA scientists. So now that the GOP is in charge we're supposed to ignore scientists and instead have a bunch of Congresspeople as some kind of air quality decision-maker bureau -- most of whom don't know the first thing about asthma, ozone alerts or cancer-causing pollutants? Really? Dold followed up that whopper with a vote to protect Big Oil's mega-windfall tax subsidies. That's right. Dold voted to hand $100-a-barrel oil cos. our tax money so they can "stay" profitable. You and I paid more in taxes last year than Exxon. A year ago Dold was telling the Palatine Tea Party that he's more conservative than he lets on (you can Google it) while showing us pretty pictures of his family by a clean Lake Michigan beach. So how's that whole tea party thing working out for ya?
Deep Dish Pizza March 02, 2011 at 07:43 AM
Jennifer, You should ask local tea party folks and out of work constituents in the 10th what they think about Dold hiring the lobbyist for the Chamber of Commerce in China as his chief of staff. Can you say "outsourcing"? Was this pay-to-play back scratching after the US national Chamber of Commerce dropped $100,000 into backing Dold's election last year? http://tinyurl.com/dold-china-lobbyist In fact, Dold's chief of staff Eric Burgeson was cut from the McCain presidential campaign in the middle of 2008 when things got too hot because of Burgeson's and other McCain advisors' lobbying. But Dold hired him anyway. http://tinyurl.com/dold-chief-ousted-by-mccain Not only that, but after hiring the Chinese Chamber of Commerce's lobbyist last winter Dold also put one of Abbott Lab's lobbyists on his "jobs task force" and announced just days after Abbott laid off almost 2000 people a few weeks back. http://tinyurl.com/dold-layoffs-jobs-task-force http://tinyurl.com/abbott-layoffs No one in the media has bothered to connect these dots and look into this hot mess of Dold weirdness -- saying he's for "jobs" but dancing around with people who have ties to off-shore outsourcing and mass layoffs.

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