Small group protests government shutdown in front of Rep. Buchanan's office in Bradenton

Small group protests government shutdown at Rep. Buchanan's office

jtate@bradenton.comOctober 5, 2013 

BRADENTON -- Seven protesters gathered in front of U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan's office in Downtown Bradenton on Friday to tell him he needs to do his part to bring the government shutdown to an end.

The group, whose views were as divided as the politicians' in Washington, could only agree on one thing: The shutdown needs to end now.

However, each person had strong opinions, which often led to them loudly debating on the lawn of the Manatee County courthouse what they believed had caused the federal government to shut down.

Terrence Brennan, an independent, said the Senate and President Barack Obama were the reason the government is not working.

"It's the fact that the Senate and Obama have threatened to veto any funding bills that come through unless it's the whole package the way he wants it," Brennan said. "That's not his business, he's an administrator."

He said both Obama and the Democrats are just refusing to accept the law and the Constitution.

"My message to Vern Buchanan is to continue doing your job and get past this stalemate," said Brennan.

He came to the demonstration with his wife, Erin Sullivan, an independent. She waved a huge flag and said she was upset that the World War II Memorial in Washington had been closed because of the shutdown.

"I'm also here because the vets are being kept out of the memorial, and that is absolutely outrageous. It's evil and it's nasty. These are old men who are never going to get a chance to come again." she said. "The budget should be broken down in parts and pieces the way it use to be and voted on item by item, issue by issue."

Thomas Richard, a Democrat who argued with Sullivan and Brennan, said, "If (House Speaker John) Boehner called the vote right now, this thing would pass, and the government would be open."

Jack Barnes, who identified himself as a patriotic American citizen and Democrat, said the bottom line is the politicians should put aside their differences.

"I want the government to open again and not manipulate a particular opinion," said Barnes. "We all have our different opinions, but it should not close down the government because of our different opinions."

They all agreed Buchanan needed to do his part, although they differed on what he should do.

Buchanan, who was in Washington, D.C., issued a statement in response to the protest.

"It is imperative that both parties come together and work around the clock to get the government up and running again. Until then, I will not be accepting a salary and have co-sponsored legislation to block pay for House and Senate members until Congress does its job. It's time to put aside the partisanship and do what's in the best interest of the country," said Buchanan.

He did not comment on when he thinks the government, which has been shut down for four days, will get back to work.

Janey Tate, Bradenton and Palmetto reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041. You can follow her on Twitter at Janey_Tate.

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