Five speakers stepped up to speak at a press conference in the Legislative Hall lobby on Wednesday to address the issues of sequestration, social security and taxation at the federal level. The event was hosted by Americans for Democratic Action, a statewide non-partisan, grassroots, advocacy group.
"Our main focus is getting people to take democratic action, such as writing letters and making phone calls, to help make a better future," said Ezra Temko, Delaware organizer for Americans for Democratic Action.
The main focus of the press conference was the national budget and sequestration but Mike Begatto, the executive director of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 81, took a moment to relate the issue back to the state.
Sequestration is a group of proposed budget cuts that are slated to go into effect on March 1. The cuts would affect programs such as Social Security, education, and Medicare.
Jerry Peden, a former teacher from Georgetown who spoke at the press conference, said the key education programs, such as special education and Head Start could be affected.
Peden also urged Congress to oppose all efforts to adversely affect social security, Medicare and Medicaid, which he said are being unfairly targeted.
Rev. Greg Chute of the Unitarian Universalists of Central Delaware put a moral spin on fiscal matters.
"I ask that as we seek solutions for these troubled times we also ask ourselves what we stand for. If we do listen to our consciences we would not put the dignity and livelihood of the most vulnerable in peril by cutting health care, nutrition assistance, shelter and education. We would balance the budget of our great economy by creating a more equitable federal tax system."
He asked that the federal government close tax loopholes that benefit large corporations and the wealthy.
"Our tax system is rigged to favor the wealthy and well connected," said Maggie O'Neal, who is a Social Services technician, who also spoke at the event. "When corporations and the wealthy do not pay their fair share it means the middle class must bear a bigger burden."
State legislators were not located during the event and Dover legislators could not be reached for comment on how these federal initiatives would affect state programs.