Baltimore to DC Bus Tour for Prosperity Not Austerity

Concerned People undertake Baltimore to DC Bus Tour for Prosperity Not Austerity Marylanders will tour through the state, meet the tour Rally in D.C. on March 23 Progressive Democrats of America, other organizations cosponsor important action
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WASHINGTON - March 22, 2013 - PRLog -- Bus Tour to Launch Saturday Morning, March 23rd
• Concerned People undertake Baltimore to DC Bus Tour for Prosperity Not Austerity
• Marylanders and Leaders will Tour through the State, Meet the Tour, and Rally in D.C.
• Progressive Democrats of America, other organizations cosponsor important action

Baltimore, MD--A coalition of more than 60 Maryland organizations will tour Maryland and D.C. delivering a message: "Prioritize prosperity not austerity!" With debate raging in Congress over cuts in the federal budget, Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), a grass-roots PAC, is pushing "Prosperity Not Austerity" as the alternative to failed budget and other policies.

PDA, The Maryland Coalition "Fund Our Communities, Not the Pentagon," Progressive Maryland--which has long supported the working families and middle class of Maryland--and other organizations are partnering to sponsor a bus tour from Baltimore, MD to Washington, DC. The tour will stop at six locations to showcase community services struggling to survive as their budgets flat-line or decline.

Journalists are welcome to ride along, cover the stops, etc.

Contacts: Jean Athey: 301-570-0923
Kate Planco Waybright: 301-404-8761

A 2012 poll by the Center for Public Integrity, the Program for Public Consultation and the Stimson Center showed that 90% of Democrats and 67% of Republicans support less spending by the Pentagon. Likewise, another poll conducted by the McClatchy news service this year showed that majorities of voters would rather increase taxes than cut spending on education, Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid and infrastructure.

Mike Hersh, National Communications Coordinator for Progressive Democrats of American says, "Overwhelmingly, the American people support full funding for programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Public Education, Jobs Creation, and SNAP (food stamps), and oppose profligate military spending. The Pentagon identified weapons systems the military neither wants nor needs which cost taxpayers hundreds of $billions, but the Congress refuses to cut these systems. Meanwhile, people in need continue to suffer for lack of funds. This tour will tell our elected officials to reexamine their priorities, and restore common sense to our budgets."

Kate Planco Waybright, interim executive director of Progressive Maryland says, "Clearly, the people of Maryland and the nation prefer a federal budget that meets the needs of working families and the middle class, not military contractor CEOs. We cannot thrive if obsolete and unnecessary weapons systems are consuming our precious resources."

Jean Athey, chair of Fund Our Communities says, "As forced spending cuts begin to bite and the Republicans propose a budget with even deeper reductions, Maryland reflects the situation in the rest of the country: Our people desperately need jobs, affordable housing is becoming harder to find, and our highways and other infrastructure are decaying, yet 58% of the U.S. government's discretionary budget goes to the Pentagon. It's time to get our priorities straight and put people first."

Bob Piersma, president of the board that runs Hughes Neighborhood Housing, says, "All of our 23 units have been full for our entire 15 years, if we were to house everyone who wants to be on our waiting list, we would need hundreds of apartments. For the past 10 years we have tried to expand without success, due to a lack of funding. Without affordable housing like ours, many persons with disabilities end up homeless." Hughes Neighborhood Housing is a HUD-funded subsidized housing complex for the mentally or physically disabled.

Hersh, Planco Waybright, and Athey will travel with the tour the entire route, making the following stops:

• 9 a.m.: Dallas F. Nicholas Senior Elementary School, 201 East 21st St, Baltimore
Focus: Education funding. Among the speakers: Fred Mason, President, AFL-CIO of Maryland and Charlie Cooper, Secretary of the Maryland Education Coalition.   

• 10:20 a.m.: Amazing Grace Lutheran Church, 2424 McElderry St., Baltimore
Focus: Health and food security. Among the speakers: Rev. Gary Dittman and Cory McCrae of BEST Democratic Club.

• 12:20 p.m.: Prince George's Social Services Office and Community College, Dept of Social Services, 6505 Belcrest Rd., Hyattsville. 
Focus: Job training, Medicaid and cash assistance for the needy. Among the speakers: College Park Mayor Andrew Fellow and Rev. Bill Lamar, Turner Memorial AME Church.

• 2 p.m.: Silver Spring Library, 8902 Colesville Rd. 
Focus: Libraries, parks, roads and public health.
Among the speakers: MD Senator Jamie Raskin; Jeff Blum, Executive Director, USAction; and Gino Renne, President of United Food and Commerical Workers Local 1994.

• 3 p.m.: Hughes Neighborhood Housing, 10720 Georgia Ave., Wheaton.
Focus: Care of the most vulnerable, including housing.
Among the speakers: MD Delegate Eric Luedtke and Dave Kunes, President of Young Democrats of Montgomery County.

• 5 p.m. The tour will conclude with a rally at the U.S. Capitol building (west side by the reflecting pool), featuring the DC Labor Chorus; the "ghost" of President Dwight Eisenhower (who warned of the dangers of an expanding military-industrial complex); Karen Dolan, Fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies; and DC Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes-Norton, representing the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

(All times approximate, contact Athey or Planco Waybright for more information.)

Congressman John Conyers has introduced H.R. 900--a bill to cancel the sequester. For more information, visit

The full schedule for the bus tour, along with a list of members of the Fund Our Communities coalition, can be found at

         Contacts: Jean Athey: 301-570-0923
         Kate Planco Waybright: 301-404-8761
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