While Republican incumbent for New York's 19th Congressional District Nan Hayworth celebrated the presidential nomination of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney on Thursday evening with a fundraiser in Newburgh, protesters against the policies and practices of the GOP formed outside bearing signs and slogans.
The "Mid Hudson Valley 99%ers," as they call themselves, reject Romney, whom they call "Mr. One Percent," and the budget proposed by his chosen vice president, Paul Ryan. They came out against Hayworth's campaign because she voted in support of that budget, and called her to oppose the outsourcing of jobs, tax breaks for the upper class and any reluctance to raise the current minimum wage.
Karen Callahan from Poughkeepsie was one such protester against Hayworth, having just come from Tampa where the Republican National Convention took place.
"We've tried to get to her on the [Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2012 proposed by Tom Harkin], but she just says she doesn't know about it. She's part of the Tea Party, and there's nothing they stand for that I agree with," said Callahan.
The movement has appeared at the congresswoman's offices in Goshen and Poughkeepsie to hold similar rallies, but members spoke of being asked to leave the premises by police or security. A similar situation arose Thursday when their line of protesters in front of the riverfront restaurant where Hayworth's fundraiser took place was responded to by City of Newburgh police officers. About six patrol cars arrived on scene and the group was told to move to a nearby park.
Joan Hillegas from New Windsor said she had lost faith in Hayworth when she argued last year to withhold FEMA disaster relief funds following Hurricane Irene until cuts were made in the federal budget.
"All these people went through this disaster and she held them hostage in hopes of continuing the tax breaks for the one percent. She wasn't thinking about the people she represents or the hardships they were going through. She used them as a stepping stone to further her political agenda," said Hillegas.
Hayworth had been in New Windsor earlier that morning to call upon the state DOT to expedite the replacement of a county bridge damaged by the hurricane. She said that she was equally concerned for the "99 percent."
"We need to have growth in this economy. We need to have an economy that welcomes our small business and lets our small and larger businesses grow. And the way to do that is to make regulations and taxes follow common sense," she said.
"Right now we are driving business and investment out of the United States because it's very costly to do business here and hire here. It's even more so in New York State, so I understand why people are upset and frustrated."