Several hundred people gathered Tuesday night in east Columbus to protest a Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for shooting and killing Michael Brown in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.
Congressman Steve Stivers’ Job Fair Draws Big Crowd, Protests Too
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Hundreds of job seekers were joined by a small group of protesters as a Central Ohio congressman sponsored a job fair in Columbus.Â MostÂ were looking for ‘Help Wanted’ signs.
15th district congressman Steve Stivers shook hands and talked upÂ job seekers as they lined up at an OSU campus building. The republican congressman says he sponsored the job fair to help unemployed constituents.
“We have a jobs crisis, that’s what today’s about and we have a debt crisis,” Stivers said. “And we need to address both things.”
Inside, Randy Stillings was recruiting truck drivers for Schneider National.Â He often works job fairs, but never one sponsored by a member of congress.
“That was a big surprise, When I got that information in an emai I thinkÂ I’ve never seen that before. That was a new one to me,” said Stillings.
Stivers and other members of congress have turned their attention to the job market after agreeing to raising the nation’s debt ceiling earlier this month. But, Stillings says congress could do more to focus on job growth.
“I don’t think they’re there yet,” Stillings said. “They’re talking about it but hopefully they will.”
Across the street from the event, at least 60 protesters carried signs. One read, ‘Stivers, Stop Voting Against Jobs.’
“This is just a front. that’s all this is, its a front just to make himself look good,” said protester Gary Russell.Â “And does he look good?Â Â No.”
Gary Russell of Columbus helped organize the protests by a coalition of unions and OSU student democrats. Russell says the protesters are tired of what he called “political rhetoric.” He pointsÂ toÂ Stivers support of a house budget plan that he says would lead to job losses not job gains.Â Stivers said he’s saddened by the protests.
“Its too bad that politics has come to this that you can’t hold a job fair to help people without getting protestors,” Stivers said.
Protests aside, the Stivers job fair certainly was good politics.Â Back in line, Anthony Hamilton, who’s been looking for work for nine months, said it wasa good idea and in the future he’ll look more favorably on Stivers.
“He is helping out the community and like I said I appreciate him a lot,” Hamilton said. “Hopefully, I can find something that will fit my schedule. I do have a son on the way.”
The job fair featured 65 employers in fields ranging from banking to healthcare and manufacturing.