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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Reich Wows Crowd in Santa Rosa

George Wenschhof

Robert Reich - Photo by John Johnson
Former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich spoke to an enthusiastic crowd last night at the Glasner Center in Santa Rosa, California and he did not disappoint them.  The number of attendees easily exceeded 300, as I joined many of those standing; a result of all the seats being taken.

While, Reich was invited by those who oppose Wal-Mart’s efforts to expand their presence in Sonoma County, he used the opportunity to highlight problems with the economy and to emphasize the makeup of our communities and society are still decided by the people who live in them.

Often repeating the “we the people” preamble, of the U.S. Constitution Bill of Rights, Reich urged those in attendance to “take back our economy and take back our democracy”.

Specifically addressing Wal-Mart and their claim to be a job creator, Reich said for every job they created, 1.4 jobs were lost in the surrounding area.  In addition, as a result of their low paying jobs, Wal-Mart employees were more likely to live in less expensive suburbs, adding to congestion on the highways.

As to the main areas that need to be addressed to improve our economy, Reich stated the need to implement universal health care, reform and enrich our education system, campaign finance reform and a return to a progressive tax system.

He took questions from the audience following his speech and afterward signed books.

This free event was sponsored by the Living Wage Coalition of Sonoma County, Project Censored, Media Freedoms Foundation, the North Bay Labor Council AFL-CIO, the Sonoma County Conservation Action, of Sonoma County, the Sonoma State University Sociology Club, California Federation of Teachers Local 1946, the California Healthy Communications Network, and the North Bay Organizing Project.

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