For a 61 year old woman, I had a terrifically interesting day. On Wednesday, February 20, 2007 I got arrested - along with another 78 year old woman named Dot. We entered Sen. Gordon Smith's office and asked the receptionist if we couldn't speak to Senator Smith or one of his aides. We were informed that Senator Smith was in Salem today - and no aide except one involved with immigration issues was present in the office today. I asked if Sen. Smith or his aides would be in his office tomorrow and I was told that in order to speak to the senator a voter would have to submit a request in writing. The receptionist's answer was an acceptable response - but she ignored the fact I had just indicated that we would be willing to speak to one of his aides in consideration of the busy senator's schedule. I did not believe a "written request should be necessary to speak to one of the senator's aides so at this point I wondered, "Does this senator believe he has any obligation to the citizen - to his fellow Oregonians?" Why wouldn't a telephone call provide the senator OR one of his aides with sufficient notice that one of his constituents had a desire to express an opinion on an important and pressing issue such as the Iraq war. I felt that the receptionist was being evasive - and that the senator was prepared to duck and dodge any request for a serious conversation on the issue. At this point, I did sit down and wrote out a letter requesting some time with the senator, himself, within 7 working days since I felt that the effort of a written request warranted more than a few moments with one of the senator's office staff.
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More Arrests At Senator Gordon Smith's Office
Wednesday afternoon Dot Lukins and Kathleen Bushman went up to Senator Gordon Smith's office to talk about their concerns about the Iraq war. They were told that there was no one in the office that could talk to them. They wanted to express their hope that the Senator would vote in a manner consistent with his statements about the war and therefore vote to defund the Iraq war. When they said they would not leave until receiving assurance that Senator Smith would agree to de-fund the war, they were arrested. Why did these two women who have never been previously arrested take this action? Dot (73) took this action because "I grieve when I see the names this week of 26 American young people killed, and when I see the young maimed in body and mind from this misbegotten war". Kathleen (61) says "I realized that if my own words mean anything, I too should take more effective action on behalf of all our fine young men and women- I would very much like to see them come home alive" Sen. Smith's constituents will continue to step forward. The "Grannies/Surge Protection Brigade" will be doing civil resistance today (22nd) and other people will continue the effort over the coming weeks. They will stop when Senator Smith does the one thing he can do to stop the war, which is to defund the war.
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