Citizens, including members of activist organizations such as Fuse Washington and the Indivisible group for Washington’s 8th Congressional District, gathered April 20 at the Hilton Bellevue for a rally outside of congressional candidate Dino Rossi’s fundraising breakfast.
Event attendees gathered around the parking lot entrance at the Hilton hotel to send their message to the people driving by and those coming into the lot to attend the fundraiser. Kim Schrier, 8th District Democratic candidate and one of Rossi’s opponents in this year’s mid-term elections, also attended the rally early that morning.
The group was in positive spirits, despite some drivers and event attendees swearing at them or making rude hand gestures from their cars.
The group brought signs criticizing Rossi for refusing to meet with constituents and failing to make timely and meaningful comments on gun violence.
Morgan Steele, senior political organizer at Fuse Washington, said the group put a call out for people to come to the rally after Rossi did not respond to a request for comment regarding funding from the gun industry and support for increased gun control legislation.
“Fuse, along with coalition partners such as Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, Moms Rising, Moms Demand Action, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest, Faith Action Network — a whole host of coalition partners — sent a letter to every candidate in the 8th Congressional District asking to a) commit to refusing to take money form the gun lobby to fund their campaigns and b) to support commonsense measures to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them,” Steele said. “Every candidate on the Democratic side responded within 24 hours, Dino Rossi never responded. These are coalition partners with members in the 8th Congressional District, we know these are issues that are important to voters of the 8th Congressional District and he hasn’t said anything.”
Ellen Lackermann, a family doctor from Seattle, attended the rally due to her new goal of getting more involved in local politics. Lackermann, who has done volunteer work registering new voters, working on youth voter registration and attending similar political activism events, said that the most important thing for citizens to do is to hold their representatives accountable and vote for what they believe in.
Rossi also garnered criticism last month when opponent Schrier called him out for receiving over $400,000 in support from the National Rifle Association in his 2010 U.S. Senate race.
His campaign pointed out that this spending was not a donation from the NRA to Rossi’s campaign, but was an independent expenditure on the part of the NRA.
Rossi responded last month that he supports gun legislation that works toward preventing any future mass shootings, such as increasing mental health resources, enforcing current firearm laws and cracking down on any “technologies that can functionally turn semi-automatic weapons into automatic ones.”