Groups Plan to Hold Protests Before President’s Rally

WHEELING — At least two groups who oppose President Donald Trump’s policies say they hope to have their voices heard when the president holds a rally here tonight.

One of them, Good Jobs Nation, is expecting to draw people to the Ohio Valley from other parts of the country as it looks to the president to help keep jobs in the United States. The other, a grassroots organization based here, will add a presidential protest to its growing list of recent demonstrations.

Paco Fabian, communications director for Good Jobs Nation, said he expects displaced workers from the General Motors Lordstown Complex in northern Ohio to attend its demonstration in Wheeling. He also said retirees from Honeywell in Indianapolis who had their lifetime benefits cut will join the protest, too. Although he said he is not sure how many people will join them, he speculated that 30-40 will show up.

The group calls its protests against Trump the #PromisesBroken Pickup Tour in response to Trump’s campaign slogan “Promises Made, Promises Kept.” The group recently was active against the president when he visited Evansville, Indiana, on Aug. 30.

“Our taxpayer dollars should be used to create good jobs,” said Fabian, who also said he believes some West Virginia teachers involved in a statewide strike earlier this year will join the out-of-town protesters. “The president can create an executive order that guarantees any company that has a federal contract isn’t allowed to ship jobs overseas.”

Fabian said his group was formed in 2013 during President Barack Obama’s administration. He said the group was partially responsible for getting Obama to sign the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order — an order Trump revoked in early 2017. The group also supports raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour and supports workers’ rights to organize.

The group plans to meet at 3 p.m. today outside WesBanco Arena for a press conference and rally. President Trump is expected to speak at 7 p.m. inside the arena to support Patrick Morrisey, West Virginia’s attorney general who is running on the Republican ticket for U.S. Senate against incumbent Democrat Joe Manchin in the Nov. 6 election.

Meanwhile, Marchers Ohio Valley Empowered — or MOVE — plans to demonstrate outside the arena beginning at 4:30 p.m. Chairwoman Martha Polinsky said she anticipates “dozens” of people will turn out for its protest.

“We want to see certain things change in the the next election,” Polinsky said. “We want people of the Ohio Valley to know that there are those who are willing to stand up to what is going on in this political climate.”

Polinsky said her group doesn’t have a specific message to the president, but its members generally support causes that the president does not. She said members believe Trump’s administration promotes policies that are hurtful toward women, children, seniors, blacks, the LGBT community and undocumented immigrants.

The group members also support other more traditionally liberal policies such as gun control, she said. And members oppose electing Morrisey to the U.S. Senate.

The chairwoman, who lives in St. Clairsville and said her group has members on both sides of the Ohio River, said the group has been active since early 2017. They’ve protested outside the offices of state and federal representatives in Ohio and West Virginia, and they were outside Oglebay’s Wilson Lodge when Vice President Mike Pence came to Wheeling for a rally in July.

“We want people to know that not everyone supports the president, not everyone feels this way,” Polinsky said. “People really are afraid, and they are afraid of what is changing.”

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