Several other groups protested at Capitol

9:29 AM, Jan 17, 2013   |    comments
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Republicans in the state House of Representatives said they finished up just over half of their agenda during 2013.

LANSING, Mich. (LANSING STATE JOURNAL) -  Native Americans, environmentalists and labor union activists stood together on the Capitol steps Wednesday evening to protest the state of the state under Gov. Rick Snyder.

By 5:30 p.m., hundreds of protesters had gathered outside the Capitol in advance of Snyder's State of the State address.

"It's a very diverse group," said Pat Hartsoe, of Grand Rapids, an anti-fracking activist. "It's democracy in action."

Hartsoe said environmentalists from all over Michigan came to protest the policies of Snyder and the Republican-controlled Legislature, which she says will bring economic gain at the expense of the environment.

Union members resumed their protest over right-to-work bills passed by the lame-duck Legislature and signed by Snyder last month.

Joel Archibald was among about 30 members of Laborers International Union Local 1075 in the Flint and Port Huron areas who traveled to Lansing to protest the legislation and to let Snyder know "we're still here."

Mike Severino, a nurse at Sparrow Hospital who once worked for Senate Republicans, said Snyder and the Legislature put "CEOs and profits ahead of people" by passing right-to-work.

"Collective bargaining is an important part of my patients' care," he said.

Jeremy Rice, a member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, joined the protest on behalf of Idle No More, a group devoted to asserting Native American rights and peaceful resistance to government policies. Group members formed a drum circle and advocated for protecting the environment.

"I was wondering how (the protest) was going to go, and it's fine," Rice said.

Lansing State Journal

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