Beckley citizens march against government shutdown

BECKLEY, W.Va. (WOAY) – A small anti-shutdown rally formed outside Senator Capito’s Beckley office around noon on Friday.

“Southern West Virginia is hurting. Beckley is hurting. Our whole country is hurting,” said Our Children Our Future member Kristen O’Sullivan. “We have correctional officers in our federal prison, locally, that are working with no pay [and] they see no end in sight”

About fifteen protesters marched from Capito’s office to Congresswoman Carol Miller’s office just a few blocks away. Marchers carried signs and microphones to be sure their message was heard.

“I’m a believer in you have to do something. Just don’t talk about it– and I will talk about stuff forever and I’m very political– but you have to take action,” said Jean Evansmore. “Its like, I have to get out there. I have to be part of what’s going on.”

For an hour, activists chanted slogans like “stop playing politics with our lives” and “open up the shutdown.” Some shared stories of those affected by the shutdown.

Just over an hour after the rally ended, President Trump announced a short-term deal to reopen the government until February 15th. If the government enters another shutdown, 800 thousand federal workers would be without pay again.

“Fortunately for me, I don’t have that kind of situation going on in my life, but at the same time I have a federal pension coming in,” said Evansmore. “I’m thinking ‘Oh, Jean.’ Just think: it might stop also because of what’s going on, so just be aware.”

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Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at