Showdown Main Street v Wall Street: Americans Travel to Capitol Hill to Press for Wall Street Reform


DATE: April 27, 2010


Washington, DCYesterday’s Senate vote offered a first hand the power of Wall Street lobbyists as Republicans stood shoulder to shoulder with them to block debate on Wall Street reform. Tomorrow, Senators will hear first hand from our lobbyists – Americans from more than a dozen states, including community leaders and small business owners, will head to Capitol Hill tomorrow to urge their Senators to hold big banks accountable. Senators will also see people flooding the streets with major actions from coast to coast this week.

Although these members of Americans for Financial Reform don’t have high paid big bank lobbyists or $500 million to spend to sway Congress, they do have the power of their voices and the weight of public opinion on their side.  Whether it be the owner of an auto shop in Delaware who watched customers being taken advantage of or the foreclosure counselor from St. Louis who sees the impact of the financial crisis on a daily basis or the state representative from Montana who witnesses the struggles in her communities, all activists will remind Senators who took the side of the big banks and blocked action on financial reform that their constituents are demanding action on holding the big banks accountable.

*Participants of the fly-in day available for interview and/or comments*

Who: Citizens, small business owners and leaders from 13 states across the country visit Capitol Hill to press for Wall Street Reform.

When: Wednesday, April 28


Ed Osborne, Auto Shop Owner, Wilmington, DE

Ed runs a small auto repair shop in Wilmington, DE.  He recently learned that one of his longtime customers – an elderly lady who works two jobs – was taken advantage of by her bank, Citizens Bank. Ed learned she had incurred $723 in overdraft charges since September of 2009, including $351 for the month of April 2010 alone. Since then, Osborne has been motivated to work for a CFPA.

Debra Sue Irwin, Foreclosure Intervention Counselor, St. Louis, MO

Debra is a Foreclosure Intervention Counselor for Beyond Housing and the coordinator of the Metro St. Louis Foreclosure Intervention Taskforce. Previously she was the coordinator of the Missouri Homeownership Preservation Network, an affiliation of housing counseling agencies working to prevent foreclosure across the state of Missouri.

State Representative Jennifer Lynn Pomnichski, MT

State Representative Jennifer Lynn Pomnichski is currently serving her second term in the Montana House of Representatives. She is Vice Chair of the House Natural Resources committee, and serves on the House Taxation committee and House Fish, Wildlife, and Parks committee. She served on a special subcommittee for property tax reappraisal and sponsored legislation to preserve the financial standing of business districts in the 2009 legislative session.

State Representative Mike Foley, Cleveland, OH

State Representative Mike Foley represents the 14th House District which covers parts of Cleveland, the city of Brookpark and the city of Parma Heights.  Representative Foley chairs the Housing and Urban Revitalization Committee and was also chair of the Compact with the Cities Task Force.  He has been a leader in legislation dealing with foreclosure prevention and post foreclosure legal and land use strategies.

Paul Baumbach, Financial Advisor, DE

Paul Baumbach, (CFA, CFP, ChFC), has been a Fee-Only financial advisor/planner since 1993, serving clients as a fiduciary.  Additionally Paul chairs his church’s social justice committee, a member faith community for the Newark Empowerment Center, which serves the homeless and near-homeless, including running the winter Code Purple program to open doors of area churches during cold nights each winter to those without shelter.

Ryan Page Rolfs, Utica, SD

Ryan is a Political Science and History student currently attending South Dakota State University.

Mary Tintes, Former Farm Equipment Manufacturing Business Owner, ND

Mary is a long time small business owner, real estate agent, community human rights activist, and consultant working on progressive political issues in ND. She was a co-owner of a farm equipment manufacturing business until 1999, then worked in non-profit management and community organizing.

Pastor Gene McElroy, Little Rock, AR

Gene is the pastor of Greater Archview Baptist Church in Little Rock.  He serves on the Arkansas Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice board.

Maxine Nelson, Retired Nurse, Pine Bluff, AR

Maxine is a retired nurse and serves on the Watson Chapel School Board in Pine Bluff since 1989.  She also has been active in the Pine Bluff 2020 planning process.

Reverend Stephen Copley, AR

Stephen is a United Methodist minister and has been pastor of churches in several communities in Arkansas.  He is the Chair of Let Justice Roll, chair of the Arkansas Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice and chair of the Arkansas Friendship Coalition. Rev. Copley chaired the successful campaign in 2006 that won legislation that increased Arkansas’ minimum wage.

Reverend Christopher Bullock, New Castle, DE

Reverend Bullock is the founding pastor of The Canaan Baptist Church in New Castle, Delaware. During the current financial crisis, Bullock has seen those needing financial literacy and counseling increase dramatically.  As a civil rights activist, Bullock founded the Delaware Coalition for Prison Reform and Justice. This coalition advocated for improved medical care in Delaware prisons that led to an unprecedented investigation by the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division that resulted in eighty-seven civil rights violations in the Delaware prison system.

Rashmi Rangan, executive director, DE Community Reinvestment Action Council, Wilmington, DE

Rashmi is the executive director of Delaware Community Reinvestment Action Council in Wilmington, DE.  For two decades, Rangan has worked to insure that banks operating in Delaware as a result of mergers, acquisitions or relocations would meet their obligations under the Community Reinvesment Act and support the interests of the Delaware community.

Andrew Merki, Student, Bloomington, IN

Andrew is a junior at Indiana University in Bloomongton, IN. He serves as the chair of Indiana’s PIRG student group, pushing for strong financial reform legislation to help students struggling with high student loans and credit card interest rates.

Sabra Matheny, Unemployed, New Orleans, LA

Sabra is municipal bond lawyer who has been unemployed since just before Thanksgiving.  Her continued unemployment is due in large part to the frozen credit and bond market which was the direct result of the ongoing recession. As bills pile up, mortgage payments are missed and her savings are exhausted while just trying to ride out the recession. She has a personal and professional interest in seeing the Wall Street reform bill’s pass so that she doesn’t have to endure the severe financial hardships that she has suffered over the past six months.

Richard Monroe, Homeowner, MO

Richard is a union carpenter who has spent the last year trying to save his home from foreclosure by Bank of America.  In 2007 his wife was diagnosed with cancer.  While she was sick they refinanced their mortgage to help pay off medical bills and other debt accumulated during her illness.  The new mortgage payment would have been feasible once she was well and back at work, unfortunately she died in December 2008. When Richard was ready to go back to work, jobs were hard to find.  He went through his savings and then called Bank of America to ask to lower the monthly payment until work picked up again.  After waiting for a response, the bank finally offered to modify his mortgage, but the amount they offered included late fees. The monthly payment would have been higher than his original mortgage payment.  This April, Richard went down to Bank of America in St. Louis with a group of protesters demanding that the bank ease up on foreclosures.  Finally, after that action, BOA reduced his monthly payment by $300.

George Aristomenis Liyeos, Rock Hill, MO

George is the City Administrator for the City of Rock Hill, Missouri since 2005.  Previously he served as the City Administrator in Normandy, Missouri for six years and as Assistant City Manager in Maplewood, Missouri for four years respectively.  George also serves as the Vice President for the Missouri City Management Association and he has taught at the University of Missouri St. Louis, St. Louis University and Columbia College Extension.

Cameron Sullivan, Student, Springfield, MO

Cameron a political science student at Missouri State University in Springfield.

Susan Hecht, Teacher, MA

Susan Hecht is a history and English teacher, and is on the Executive Committee and Education Committee of Massachusetts Jobs with Justice, a workers’ rights coalition of labor, community, faith, and student groups.

Richard Zombeck, Writer, Salem, MA

Richard is a technical writer for Bitstream, Marlboro, and formerly worked for Adobe Systems.  He became an accidental activist, founding and blogging on the Huffington Post, as a result of his two-year fight with Ocwen Bank, the servicer of his home loan.  Although he received what Ocwen considers a loan modification, he continues to fight for reform of the financial industry.

Bob Lynn Jr., Community Activits Toledo, OH

Bob is Secretary of Toledo Area Jobs with Justice and Interfaith Worker Justice Coalition, which represents 40+ organizations from the faith, social justice and labor communities in Northwest Ohio.

Jim McCarthy, Dayton, OH

Jim is the President & CEO of the Miami Valley (Dayton metro area) Fair Housing Center and Board President of the National Fair Housing Alliance.

Jason Wiener, City Councilman, Missoula, MT

Jason represents Ward One on Missoula, Montana’s City Council and chairs Missoula County Democrats. He currently serves as the Council’s elected Public Works Committee chair, a member of the Missoula Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the Montana Department of Revenue Local Government Working Group and the Missoula Community Food and Agriculture Coalition.