|Phoenix protesters pepper-sprayed at Westin Kierland Resort|
"...Some 900 predominantly Republican lawmakers from around the country are taking part in the three-day ALEC conference, which is sponsored by ExxonMobil, AT&T, SRP, Altria, Novartis, Aetna and Freeport-McMoran, among other corporations. Lawmakers were aware of the protests but dismissed the protesters' concerns of undue influence.
"They presume that my vote can be bought, and it can't," said Amanda Grosserode, a Republican lawmaker from Lenexa, Kans.
Robin Vos, a Wisconsin Republican legislator, said, "there are no examples in Wisconsin of corporations having undue influence."
At at much more subdued gathering at the state Capitol on Wednesday morning, a group of about 40 professionals and activist leaders spoke about how legislation that has come out of ALEC affects Arizonans.
Former Arizona Democratic legislative leader John Loredo said the groups are focused on "exposing the corporate influence of ALEC."
"ALEC is the mechanism companies use to control public policy," Loredo said. "This is policy designed to enrich the richest corporations in the country at the expense of the middle class and the voters."
He and other speakers mentioned Arizona's Senate Bill 1070 immigration law, laws supporting the use of private prisons, efforts to curb union activities and laws that privatize education.
"Long ago, ALEC's corporate members figured out they could make big bucks by locking people up," said Caroline Isaacs, program director for the Arizona branch of the Quaker-based social justice group American Friends Service Committee. "Immigrant detention is the new growth industry.""
I'm sorry, any rebpuli-con legislator who says their vote cannot be bought by ALEC would not be attending the ALEC conference!
From a friend who was at the protest this morning... "The irony of it all was that here we had this overabundance of police in riot gear poised to pounce on the protesters protesting ALEC. While inside the Westin, ALEC was writing legislation to privatize every function of government. Which legislators throughout the country would bring back to their state legislatures...legislation that would potentially destroy the jobs of these same publicly employed policemen and decimate their pensions!" - Fred B.