Senator Brown addresses Cape business owners at chamber luncheon Wednesday
Polite protesters give attendees additional points to ponder
By Matilda Brown
Senator Scott Brown came to the Hyannis Golf Club yesterday to speak to members of the Chamber of Commerce.
Speaking to a crowd of people involved with businesses, it was no surprise that a big portion of Brown’s speaking time was dedicated to his continued plans for business in the US, although he did not go into depth on any of his points. Rather, Brown gave a brief overview of his positions, mentioning that he is a free market advocate and that he believes in the hardworking spirit of the American people.
Touching on comments by his opponent, Elizabeth Warren, Brown speculated that most small business owners would beg to differ with her statement that they did not build their businesses themselves.
Brown mentioned that he would fight against saddling businesses with higher taxes and pointed to his voting record in the Senate to back him up. He also mentioned that he has been supporting the balanced budget amendment.
As to the economy, Brown said, "The answers to our economic problems won’t be found in DC; the answers are here in this room." The statement alludes to Brown’s belief that it is business owners, not government, that will bring the US out of the current economic slump.
"The one thing we all have in common right now is that we’re all Americans first and we’re all in trouble," Brown said.
He went on "If you ran your businesses the way the federal government runs their business, you would not have a business." Despite the gratuitous amount of the word "business”", his point was that he thinks the continued borrowing of the US government is unsustainable, as it would be for any business owner, such as most of the people in the room.
"The feds aren’t good stewards of your tax dollars…you deserve better," Brown said.
On a more personal note for Cape Cod, Brown touched lightly upon how he understands the difficulties facing fishermen (and women), making point to mention how difficult he finds NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) to work with. He used the fishing issue to point out how bipartisan he is, saying that he and Senator Kerry are "united" on the issue of how to properly deal with the fisheries.
Brown made a point to say, "I don’t work for Reid and McConnell, I work for you. I work across the aisle…I’m the second most bipartisan senator."
Dorothy Savarese, CEO of Cape Cod Five, gave Brown’s introduction. She said, "I think the commitment of this senator to the growth of small businesses has been good."
The event was also attended by a group of people from Move On, who sported signs and cardboard cut-outs with which they performed mimicry of Scott Brown and Big Oil. The protesters begged to differ with Brown’s depiction of himself as a bipartisan senator, with many of them saying that they felt he portrayed himself in a way that made him seem reasonable, while at the same time, he voted heavily with Republicans.
According to the organizer of the event, Gina Lombardi of Yarmouth, the protesters were there "in protest among many other things, Scott Brown's voting record to support the 1% at the expense, pun intended, of the rest of us." Lombardi provided a few examples of what she saw as Brown’s voting in support of the 1%, including Brown’s vote of "yes" for workfare for mother’s of 2- to 6-year-olds and his vote of "no" on allowing parents on welfare to attend school, which, Lombardi said, "So what you have here is mothers on welfare getting to work at fast food restaurants, but never being able to get a decent education." Lombardi elaborated, "Sending welfare mothers out to work, and to not support them in getting a better education is wrong on too many levels to count."
Lombardi also mentioned how Brown had voted against putting a cap on bankers salaries. "Free market and all that," Lombardi said.
Dave Neal of the Barnstable County Sheriff’s Department, was also in attendance at the luncheon. Neal said that he comes to a lot of the chamber events and that he wanted to hear what Brown had to say.
As to the Sheriff’s Department’s experience with Brown, Neal said, "For us [the sheriff’s department], he’s been a great senator. He came to the sheriff’s office and held meetings with all the chiefs on the Cape and Islands. He wanted to know what the main issues here were and for us, it’s drugs."
While Neal mentioned that the function of the sheriff’s department is different in Massachusetts than in most states, in so much as that in Massachusetts, the sheriffs are responsible for care and custody of inmates, Neal said that the Barnstable County Sheriff’s Department does assist in some of the drug arrests in the area. Neal also mentioned that the jail has a lot of programs for rehabilitation. "The biggest issue in many cases is lack of education so we provide a GED."
Dave Neal said about the protesters, "I’m a strong believer in the first amendment and if people want to come out and speak their piece, they can." He added, "They said ‘thank you’ for reading the signs. I’m glad they can be out there…one of them told me, 'you must have had a good teacher' because I stopped and read all the signs."
Deborah Millman, Director of the Cape Wildlife Center in Barnstable, said that she had come to the event more to rub elbows because she was new to the area. She said about the protesters, "they [the protesters] seemed polite…it was so hot out, I didn’t really spend much time out there."
Judith Underwood, President and Founder of Brown to Green Solar, said she came to the event because "It’s a great networking opportunity and I want to hear what the Senator has to say about renewable energy."
Brown did touch upon renewable energy, saying that the effort would have to be about all kinds of energy, not just one, like wind or solar. He said that he thought Massachusetts was a leader in innovation, saying, "I’m from Massachusetts…we’re independent thinkers, that’s what separates us from other states."
Betty Grondin-Jos was also part of the protest. She said she was there because "I want to tell people that Brown doesn’t represent the majority of Massachusetts citizens." She went on, saying, "I’d like to see better representation…Brown voted to keep student loan rates high and he votes with big business and big oil."
Grondin-Jos said, "I’d like Warren to get in because she better represents consumers…she was the architect of the consumer protection agency created out of Dodd-Frank which was initially enacted as a reaction to the 2008 crash." Grondin-Jos said she felt the agency was a good thing because "Wall Street still needs reform and regulation."