Taking it to the streets
Protesters rally in opposition to House tax bill
A crowd of nearly 100 filled the sidewalk and spilled into the parking lot outside of Republican Congressman Doug LaMalfa’s Oroville office on Tuesday (Dec. 12). Some held signs dissing LaMalfa; others targeted the tax bill he voted for last month.
“I’m here because LaMalfa has voted to cut my son’s health care—he’s on Medi-Cal—and my own health care—I’m on Medicare,” said Karen Duncanwood, a Paradise resident. “He wants to raise taxes on every Californian.”
“LaMalfa is only in it for himself,” said Chicoan Mary Kay Benson. “We’re all here to repeal and replace LaMalfa. We are the people who care about people and the planet—not just the rich.”
Duncanwood’s and Benson’s sentiments were echoed by those around them, many of whom had personal reasons for opposing the Republican tax bill the House of Representatives passed in November. A similar bill passed the Senate and a committee is currently working to find a middle ground—a final vote is expected next week.
LaMalfa, who was in Washington while the protesters pumped their signs at cars driving down Olive Highway, issued a statement following his yea vote. “Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the vast majority of North State residents will save money, period,” he said. Those in attendance Tuesday at the rally, organized by the Democratic Action Club of Chico and Chico Indivisible, argued otherwise. One of those people was Jessica Holcombe, a resident of Auburn who is challenging LaMalfa in 2018.
“Doug LaMalfa claims that the tax bill will help those in our district,” Holcombe said over the loud speaker set up in the parking lot. “But the top 1 percent will primarily benefit over the bottom 40 percent.”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income in LaMalfa’s District 1 is $47,488.
“Our forefathers fought for no taxation without representation,” Holcombe said. “It’s high time we had a congressional representative who represents our interests, the interests of working Americans.”
Holcombe described herself as a fourth-generation Northern Californian who reaped the benefits of student loans and scholarships, which helped her through her undergraduate studies at Georgetown University and graduate school at UC Davis. Having grown up poor—at one point living out of the family van with her mother and six siblings—Holcombe said she’s fighting for the working class.
“I want to make sure that working families will have the opportunities that I had,” she told the CN&R. “In looking at LaMalfa’s voting record, he represents the largest corporate donors—not his constituents.”
David Welch, who helped organize Tuesday’s event as part of the Democratic Action Club of Chico, said he felt the timing was right for a rally, with the final tax bill vote still pending. “The Republicans are still trying to resolve the Senate and House versions,” he explained. “We wanted to make our voices heard before the vote.”