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This afternoon Blue Girl, RBH, and I attended a “Save Our Jobs Rally” at the Penn Valley Community College Gym in Kansas City sponsored by the United Auto Workers and the Automobile Dealers Association.

I know what you’re thinking. A looming depression makes for strange bedfellows, doesn’t it?

Congressman Dennis Moore (D-Kansas) (center) and Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (D-Missouri) (right).

We estimated the number in attendance to be between 600 and 700. Keep in mind that we’re not exactly expert at estimating crowd size.

Congressman Emanuel Cleaver’s office issued the following in a release before the rally:

“The global financial crisis is crippling the availability of credit for the automakers, their suppliers, their dealers and consumers,” said Congressman Cleaver. “As our local auto plants extend their work stoppages, it is quite possible one or more of the domestic automakers could collapse. No one can afford American auto makers going bankrupt, least of all the 7,200 men and women who work at the Fairfax and Claycomo plants, the thousands who work for auto dealers in the area or the tens of thousands of retirees. These are our neighbors, friends and family and they are in trouble.”

“However frustrating things in Washington are right now, they pale in comparison to the insecurity, fear and anxiety being felt by millions of workers who are either standing in the unemployment line or looking for a pink slip with every paycheck. So, while we shake our heads and stomp our feet in the Capitol, our Congressional troubles are trivial compared to the peril faced by far too many we serve. We will hear from the families impacted directly by this terrible economy on Sunday,” said Cleaver.

Governmental leaders in attendance included Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, and Congressman Dennis Moore, all who addressed the crowd. The Mayor of Independence, Missouri; the Mayor of Kansas City, Kansas; several state officials from Kansas; several Missouri state representatives, and a number of city council members from Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas were also in attendance. A representative of the Automobile Dealers Association also spoke to the crowd at some length.    

Jeff Wright, president of UAW Local 249 is interviewed by the local ABC affiliate.

UAW retirees.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (D) (right).

Bridgette Williams, President of the Greater Kansas City AFL-CIO.

Congressman Emanuel Cleaver remained past the end of the rally until the last individual who wanted to talk with him had left.

The impetus for the rally was for these governmental leaders to express their support for automotive workers and their industry.

There is a palpable fear that the current political spin (and conventional wisdom) in Washington will enable Congress to ignore the current serious needs of the automotive industry. The common theme from every speaker was that the survival of the automotive industry is absolutely essential for the good of the American worker and the American economy,