By Molly Davis Staff Writer
Posted: 02/25/2011 05:09:55 PM PST

REDLANDS – Dozens of citizens came out to protest Rep. Jerry Lewis’ support of Republican-proposed cuts to the federal budget.

MoveOn.org, a national political action group, organized protests around the country Thursday. In Redlands, about 35 people came out to speak against Lewis’ support, according to protest organizer Zoe Lane.

“Lewis’ voting record seems very anti-middle class,” said Lane.

She said Thursday’s protest was her first MoveOn event.

“We want to make sure he’s held accountable for the votes that he’s cast,” Lane said.

A small group gathered outside the Redlands Republican’s district office, tucked into a corner of the Plaza Las Palmas shopping center at Brookside Avenue and San Mateo Street.

A few people spoke against Lewis’ support of the budget before police officers asked the crowd to move into the parking lot so as to not disrupt nearby businesses.

The protesters touted signs with statements such as “Cut Wall Street, Not Firefighters,” “Lewis says `Let them (us) eat cake,”‘ “Tax Cuts for the Rich…On the Backs of the Middle Class.”

Not everyone was there to protest Lewis’ support of the GOP’s federal budget cuts, which include loss of federal funding to education, clean water programs and job training programs.
Protesters’ agenda

Protesters at Rep. Jerry Lewis’ district office in Redlands spoke out against potential budget
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K-12 education

University of California education and biomedical research

Pell grants

Clean water programs

HeadStart

Women, Infants and Children nutrition and health services

Public broadcasting

Job training programs for the unemployed

Staff Report

A few unaffiliated citizens were there to defend Lewis, along with a few of the Redlands Tea Party Patriots, who argued that the budget cuts were necessary.

One supporter even carried a sign that read “MoveOn is Evil…Lewis is Doing a Good Job.”

“It comes down to the basic principle that there simply isn’t enough money to do what (people) are asking,” said Philip Naman, Tea Party cabinet member. “Our government has to look at being sensible.”

The protesters argued that the proposed cuts are simply unfair.

Raquel Brac spoke about the problems senior citizens face and how many seniors depend on Social Security after they’ve retired.

“We’ve contributed (to Social Security) our whole lives,” Brac said. “We should not be cheated.”

One concerned citizen made sure his message would be heard by speaking above the din of the crowd.

“It’s a shame to see what Republicans have done,” said Jeff Curtis. “It’s time everyone wakes up and realizes what’s going on.”

Members of potentially affected groups were there to be heard. Jolene Tripp represented the Redlands Education Support Professionals Association.

“I wanted to join the rally (because of) the budget cuts,” Tripp said. “I figured it was a good opportunity to (reach the) public and tell Lewis we can’t take any more cuts.”

Maria Clark of the Redlands Teachers Association had similar concerns.

“We’re not producing an educated work force,” Clark said. “(Students) are not getting the education they deserve and that our economy needs.”

But education should be left to local governments and not rely on the federal government for money, a Lewis spokesman said.

“Congressman Lewis has always believed that education should be a local responsibility,” said Jim Specht, Lewis’ deputy chief of staff, adding that Lewis was “not (elected) to look at local school districts and their financial issues.”

According to a recent news release from Lewis’ office, the congressman spoke to the House of Representatives on Feb. 15 about reining in federal spending before the country finds itself in a financial disaster.

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