West Va. Governor Joins Activist Rally Against Sale of Verizon

Rand Wilson January 12, 2010

Months of hard work by campaign activists paid off when West Va. Governor Joe Manchin made a surprise appearance during the "Stop the Sale" rally in Charleston.

CHARLESTON, W.V. — Cam­paign activists here have been mobi­liz­ing for months to build broad pub­lic oppo­si­tion to the pro­posed sale of Verizon’s land­lines to Frontier.

Hun­dreds of mem­bers have met with their leg­is­la­tors at the Capi­tol or attend­ed meet­ings with their Coun­ty Com­mis­sion­ers to edu­cate them about the pro­posed sale, which I wrote about on this site last week. Many oth­ers have talked with neigh­bors and friends, dis­trib­uted lawn signs and bumper stick­ers, or gone online to get hun­dreds of let­ters opposed to the sale sent to West Virgninia Gov­er­nor Joe Manchin.

Thank­ful­ly, everyone’s hard work paid off on Sun­day, Jan­u­ary 10, at the Cul­ture Cen­ter in Charleston, when Manchin made a sur­prise appear­ance in the mid­dle of the Stop the Sale” rally.

Manchin joined CWA Pres­i­dent Lar­ry Cohen, CWA Dis­trict 2 VP Ron Collins, Unit­ed Minework­ers Pres­i­dent Cecil Roberts and many oth­er labor and com­mu­ni­ty lead­ers on the stage to say that he would do every­thing in his pow­er to make the pro­posed deal work for the work­ing fam­i­lies of West Vir­ginia — not just for the Wall Street bankers.

Oth­er ral­ly speak­ers includ­ed Sen. Jack Yost, Del. Mike Caputo, state AFL-CIO Pres­i­dent Ken­ny Per­due, and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the fire­fight­ers, nurs­es and senior cit­i­zens. (Pic­tures from the ral­ly can be seen here.)

The ral­ly was timed to be just days before the West Vir­ginia Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion began hear­ings on the mat­ter this morn­ing in Charleston. 

We need to bring high-speed broad­band to West Vir­ginia and com­mu­ni­ties across the coun­try, to fos­ter eco­nom­ic growth,” Cohen said. Instead, Ver­i­zon is using an obscure tax loop­hole to do a tax free deal that will leave West Vir­ginia with­out a plat­form for achiev­ing the speeds that are nec­es­sary for eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment. This deal is only good for Wall Street, not Main Street.”

Rand Wil­son is pol­i­cy and com­mu­ni­ca­tions direc­tor at SEIU Local 888 in Boston.
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