Protests Continue In Downtown Columbus

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A second day of Downtown protests brought more than 100 people to the Statehouse yesterday calling for jobs and “economic accountability.”

About 80 protesters with Jobs Not Cuts, a affiliated group, marched from Wall Street to the Statehouse, where they joined with dozens more from the ongoing Occupy Columbus and We Are Ohio movements.

Holding signs and instruments, the protesters chanted slogans and wrote letters to Republican Ohio Sen. Rob Portman calling for change and the passage of President Barack Obama’s $447 billion jobs bill, before Senate Republicans voted to kill it yesterday.

“We want Sen. Portman to take some leadership on the jobs bill,” said Mark Stansbery, one of the organizers.

Former U.S. Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy of Columbus joined the Jobs Not Cuts group as it prepared to move to the Statehouse. Kilroy, a Democrat, is running for Ohio’s 3rd Congressional District in 2012.

“People want to work,” Kilroy said. “People need to work. We need our president’s jobs bill to be passed.”

Kilroy said Medicare, Medicaid and education programs should be protected from cuts, and she stressed that job creation is the key to reducing the federal deficit.

“Jobs are our best deficit-attacking program,” Kilroy said.

Sandy Bolzenius, a council member for, said the group delivered 30 to 40 letters to Portman’s office, after requests to meet with him were ignored. Many of the letters come from families with financial troubles asking him to budge on the jobs bill, she said.

“There’s too much emphasis on cutting taxes when we don’t even have enough people working,” Bolzenius said.

Portman’s office said 21 letters were received from the group and that the senator’s staff had talked with Bolzenius and others a number of times.

Many passers-by honked in approval as the group marched behind a “We the People” banner and chanted, “one, two, three, four, pay your taxes like the poor.” A few shouted derisively at the crowd, but police reported no incidents.

On Monday, Occupy Columbus staged a gathering of more than 100 at the Statehouse. The group sought solidarity with the continuing Occupy Wall Street movement in New York. The groups together protested corporate influence on politics and continuing hardship on “the 99 percent” of Americans who make less than $1 million a year.

Tristan Navera is a fellow in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism Statehouse News Bureau.