Salt Lake City rally blames shutdown on tea party
Protest • Says conservatives not playing by rules, hurting nation.
Published: October 4, 2013 11:00PM
Updated: February 14, 2014 11:35PM
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Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune Salt Lake City resident, Cherise Udell, speaks about the federal government shutdown during a local version of series of rallies across America Friday October 4, 2013 where protestors were demanding an end to the shutdown, a pay freeze for Congress and honor public employees that have been furloughed. The event was held In front of Congressman Chris Stewart’s office in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah.

Jordan Clayton says it’s ironic that he took a pay cut to accept a job as a hydrologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture because he thought government would be more secure and steady. Now, he is furloughed as part of the federal shutdown.

So he held a homemade sign Friday saying, “Congress do your job so we can do ours,” and joined a rally outside the downtown Salt Lake City office of Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, urging lawmakers to end the shutdown.

He said if he could talk to Congress, he would tell members that the Affordable Care Act “passed in 2010. It was deemed constitutional by the Supreme Court,” and that should have settled the matter until opponents have enough votes to overturn it in regular votes and not a shutdown. “In the meantime, I just want to go back to work.”

The liberal group MoveOn.org, which supports politicians it deems progressive or moderate, organized the rally that attracted about 50 people — and used it to blame the shutdown on the tea party and Republicans who support it. It led chants of “We are angry,” and many held signs saying, “Tea time is over.” They also attempted to enter Stewart’s office to leave messages, but found it closed.

“This is not how a democracy is supposed to function,” Tim Mills, one of the organizers, said. This [Affordable Care Act] went through the legislative process, was legitimized by the Supreme Court. ... When the game is over, you can’t go back to the ref and say, ‘Could you put five more minutes on the clock?’ ”

Cherise Udell, another organizer, said the tea party “has held our country hostage long enough, and it’s time we took it back. ... It’s time to throw that tea overboard.” She added, “This is on the verge of becoming the most fiscally irresponsible gesture in modern political history.”

Ty Markham, who owns a bed and breakfast in Torrey near the entrance to Capitol Reef National Park, told the crowd the shutdown is hurting rural areas that depend on tourism attracted by national parks.

“In only three days, I’ve had 30 cancellations,” she said. “This is the ripple effect it [the shutdown] is causing in the private sector.”

She told the crowd, “The fallout in the private sector in rural communities is devastating. ... We really need to hold these people accountable.”

ldavidson@sltrib.com