Posted by CODEPINK Staff
Released: November 10, 2009
Four activists were arrested this morning during a sit-in in front of Senator Joseph Lieberman’s office in Hartford. The arrestees were among 30 demonstrators who sought a public meeting with the Senator to confront him on his stance on healthcare reform while at the same time accepting donations from the health insurance industry. Since 1989 the Senator has accepted over 2 million dollars in contributions from the health care industry, which demonstrators say has unduly influenced his stance on reform.
The demonstration in Hartford was in solidarity with a simultaneous event at Lieberman’s Washington, DC office where 15 people went to meet with the Senator, and resulted in 6 arrests. Demonstrators carried dollar bills with Lieberman’s face that read “Insurance Money Kills Democracy!”
In Hartford, demonstrators were blocked from entering the building where Lieberman’s office is located so they rallied on the sidewalk outside the building, and attempted to get in contact with his office via phone and building manager representatives.
When Senator Lieberman’s office stated they were unable to arrange a personal meeting with the Senator, Jason Ortiz one of the lead organizers for the demonstration asked to speak with Senator Lieberman over the phone. This request was denied by Lieberman’s office representative.
After repeated requests for the Senator to meet with his constituents either in person or over the phone were declined, Jason Ortiz, along with Paul Blasenheim, Lauren Serven, and James Romer, sat down on the sidewalk in front of the entrance to the office building and refused to move until their demands to meet with the Senator were met. Demonstrators not sitting marched on the sidewalk chanting “Lieberman profits, people die, healthcare for all!” The four were quickly arrested and taken to Hartford Police Headquarters for processing.
All four arrestees were taken to Hartford Police Headquarters, charged with a misdemeanor of disorderly contact, and have been released with no bail but promise to appear in court this Friday Nov. 13, 2009.
“ I came here today to demand better for the people of CT than what Sen. Lieberman represents. He is an example of the influence of corporate money in dictating public policy. People are dying while Lieberman plays political games with our future. I can not stand by and watch our so called representatives sell us out so he can make a profit. I’m ashamed to be represented by Sen.Lieberman, and he should be ashamed of himself for choosing profits over his own constituents.” –Jason Ortiz, 6th semester Creative Community Building major at UConn
“It is absolutely shameful and unacceptable for Senator Lieberman to accept such gross campaign finances from the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries when people here in Connecticut are suffering and dying due to lack of comprehensive health care. It’s time Lieberman listened to the real voices of his constituents, instead of health insurance CEO’s, and implement a viable universal health care plan. Since Lieberman has refused to listen to us time and time again, we have brought our struggle to his doorstep to demand this change. It’s time we move on from Big Health Insurance and instead care about the needs of the people.” –Paul Blasenheim, 3rd semester undecided major Wesleyan University
Photos and Video available upon request- Contact: Brittany Florio, 860-614-2724