Students, Workers Rally at Cosumnes River College for Jobs

Like many college students, Tanya Reyes is doing what she can to try to build a better future for herself. Every weekday, she makes the 1 ½ hour drive from her home to Cosumnes River College to pursue a college education. But over the last year, the class offerings have become slimmer. Educators have been let go. The economic outlook has become even gloomier, making her wonder what opportunities await her after college.

She, like hundreds of others at an “America Wants to Work” rally at the college last week, is becoming increasingly frustrated with the GOP obstructionism on the President’s jobs plan. The American Jobs Act could put hundreds of thousands of people to work right away, alleviate the devastating cuts to her college and so many others, and spur economic growth so that she could look at the future with a sense of optimism.

I’m going to school to better myself and my family. It’s so hard to see our classes and our educators getting cut.

Reyes and others spoke with a sense of urgency about passing the American Jobs Act, which, through various provisions, is a critical element of alleviating the unemployment crisis that’s been especially acute in California. With unemployment in our state still hovering near 12%, the Jobs Act would be a lifesaver for so many workers who’ve ended up jobless through no fault of their own.

Professor Dean Murakami, Los Rios Community College District:

The American Jobs Act would create 37,000 jobs in California’s public education system. Today’s rally is a direct plea on behalf of the region, urging Republicans to leave partisan politics aside and put the American people first to get our economy back on track. The Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act would create or protect nearly 400,000 education jobs, while preventing the layoffs of thousands of police officers and firefighters.

Republicans in Senate recently filibustered the Teachers and First Responders Act, leaving its future in doubt. But Maggie Ellis, a teacher in Elk Grove, urged supporters not to give up hope and to keep pressing for the Act’s passage, given how critical it is to our state’s education system.

Congress absolutely must support the plan to hire or rehire more than 30,000 teachers in California. We’ve had $18 billion in cuts already. We’ve lost 30,000 teachers and 10,000 more support staff. This is about our future. We have to keep fighting.

Another key element of the American Jobs Act is investing in infrastructure to put people to work and fix our crumbling roads, bridges and schools.

Karl Pineo of Ironworkers Local 118:

Within a 10-mile radius of downtown Sacramento, we have more than 60 bridges and overpasses that are structurally insufficient. We could put a lot of people back to work – ironworkers, carpenters, painters, and laborers –making our bridges safer. Nobody really thinks about bridges until one collapses. Let’s not wait until that happens. Let’s pass the Jobs Act now.

The GOP effort to scuttle the president’s jobs plan may make for good politics in Washington, but it’s creating a lot of anger in the rest of the country as families continue to struggle just to keep the lights on and food on the table.

Asmeblymember Dr. Richard Pan told the crowd to keep putting pressure on the political elite that don’t seem to be responding to the needs and concerns of working people.

We need to invest in our future. Let’s get organized and move forward to ensure we have good quality jobs and health care. That’s how we got out of the Great Depression – we organized. And that’s exactly what we need to do today.