Public Outcry

Frustration over the government shutdown has taken to the streets.

Protesters gathered outside of Republican Congressman Tom Reed’s office on East Second Street in Jamestown on Tuesday, to rally against his involvement and his party’s overall role in shutting down the federal government. The 20 to 25 protesters, who belong to Organizing For Action, a Democratic-leaning community organizing project, blame the Republican Party for holding the government hostage as a means to stop President Obama’s signature health care law.

“The Tea Party patriots have thanked (Congressman Reed) publicly for standing by them,” said Judi Lutz-Woods, one of Tuesday’s protestors. “He’s refusing to pass a bill to reopen our government.”

The rally was organized by Cath Kestler, the Chautauqua County director for OFA, who referred to the protest as a “fiscal day of action.”

“We want to put Rep. Reed on notice that we do not believe in how he votes and that he is not representing what the majority of his constituents believe,” Kestler said. “We want him to know that we’re here and we’re not afraid to call him out in public.”

Reed, whose local office was closed, is currently in Washington. The protesters placed a call to his office, but were unable to reach him.

Elizabeth Shaffer, Reed’s communications director, forwarded a statement from the congressman.

“We must deal not only with the government shutdown and potential default, but our country’s out-of-control spending and deep-rooted financial troubles,” Reed said. “The Senate, having rejected all of the House-passed continuing resolutions, now has a decision to make: join the House and put the country on a path toward living within our means or continue down the path of shutdown and default.”

Regarding the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, Reed pointed toward the special treatment given to members of Congress.

“It is only fair and right we stand strong against special treatment for Congress because we should all live under the same laws,” Reed said. “The unfairness under the special exemption for Congress is just one of many problems with the law.”

Reed did not comment on the protest itself.