Rally held at Sen. Lee’s office opposing Trump’s cabinet picks

ST. GEORGE – Sen. Mike Lee’s St. George office was swarmed by nearly 40 people holding a rally expressing their dislike of President Donald Trump’s cabinet choices. They also expressed general grievances and worries about policies the new administration plans to implement.

Though part of a national call to oppose Trump’s cabinet appointees made by MoveOn.org, the rally in St. George carried much the same spirit and theme as Saturday’s Women’s March that draw nearly 1,500 people.

L-R: Dorothy Engelman, who helped spread word of the rally, stands next to Kathryn Syssoyeva, who said Trump’s cabinet did not reflect American values, St. George, Utah, Jan. 24, 2017 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Not wanting to lose the momentum of Saturday’s event, Dorothy Engelman said she helped get the word out about the event, though noted she was not the event organizer. She said she simply helped to facilitate it.

Engelman found out about the event Monday afternoon via a notice from MoveOn.org. From there she helped contact others about the gathering, she said.

The notice from MoveOn.org was part of a national call to oppose Trump’s cabinet and was accompanied by the hashtag “#SwampCabinet” with rallies held at senatorial offices in various cities.

“Donald Trump riled up crowds claiming he’d ‘drain the swamp’ and chase corruption out of Washington,” the MoveOn.org press release states. “But, so far, he has done nothing but nominate individuals that will continue to foster the same corruption he described during his campaign.”

Originally only expecting a handful of people to arrive due to short notice, Engelman was surprised by the gathering crowd.

“I’m delighted,” Engelman said as she reflected on how many people showed up at Lee’s office on Tabernacle Street. “I was hoping for a dozen. I think we got three dozen.”

Though the senator was not present at the office, Betty Arial, the office’s Southern Utah director, was. She took down names of those who voiced their concerns and told the crowd they would be sent to Washington, D.C.

The group had attempted to contact Sen. Orrin Hatch’s St. George office, but no one was available at the time, Engelman said.

Around 40 people showed up at Sen. Mike Lee’s office in St. George to ask him to oppose President Trump’s cabinet appointees. The rally was part of a larger, nationwide event set up by MoveOn.org to show opposition to what was called the “Swamp Cabinet,” St. George, Utah, Jan. 24, 2017 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Topics concerning a potential loss of the Affordable Healthcare Act and funding to Planned Parenthood were shared while discontent for Trump’s cabinet picks was mentioned only in a more general sense. Of the cabinet nominees, attorney general nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, and education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos were mentioned by name.

“I feel the cabinet nominees reflect a desire to gut key organizations within government,” rally attendee Kathryn Syssoyeva said. “I don’t think this is in anyone’s best interests. The cabinet appointees by and large do not reflect the values of our nation.”

Linda Stay, who has been a known gay rights advocate in the community, said she was worried that LGBTQ rights would be adversely affected by the cabinet picks. She also said that as a woman who has experienced breast cancer, she worried treatments made available to her under the Affordable Care Act may now be taken away.

Around 40 people crammed into the lobby of Sen. Mike Lee’s St. George office asking the senator – through office staff – not to support Trump’s cabinet appointees. The rally was part of a larger, nationwide event set up by MoveOn.org to show opposition to what was called the “Swamp Cabinet,” St. George, Utah, Jan. 24, 2017 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

“I would have died without that treatment that I was able to get,” Stay said. “I am very, very concerned that that’s going to disappear and I will be left without access to health care.”

Mention of DeVos’ name at times seemingly caused members of the crowd to bristle, particularly among those who said they were retired educators. DeVos, they say, is unqualified and inexperienced for the position and will damage the nation’s public education system.

Sessions’ pending appointment as the nation’s next attorney general was also opposed due to accusations of racism.

“I never thought that we were still as racist of a country as that brought out,” said one of the gathering’s attendees said of Sessions’ nomination.

Lee expressed his belief that Sessions is qualified for the job during with an interview with Fox News that he posted to his Facebook page Jan. 10.

“Senator Jeff Sessions is undeniably qualified to be the Attorney General. While I may disagree with Sen. Sessions on some policy issues, that does not change his qualifications for this position,” Lee said.

Further comment on the subject of Trump’s incoming cabinet was sought from Lee’s office, but requests were not returned by time of publication.

“My mantra is: ‘silence is not an option,’” Engelman said. “If we’re going to see change take place, it has to be us doing it. It’s not scary – it’s empowering and energizing.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.


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  • January20 January 24, 2017 at 10:05 pm

    Who says it never snows in St George? 40 snowflakes sighted at Sen. Lee’s office!

  • ScanMeister January 25, 2017 at 7:32 am

    Unfortunately when I see Dorothy Engelman I am reminded of the booking photo of her husband a few months back caught shoplifting from a local St George retail store. Hopefully he has received help from the depression he suffered with during that time. It would be nice for the day to come that the Left would get more in touch with their base and work toward positive steps improving rather than tearing down others.

    • Chris January 25, 2017 at 7:11 pm

      Of course, the Right, and Trump in particular, never engage in “tearing down others.” In fact, your mention of Dorothy Engleman’s husband is nothing more than “tearing down others” and has nothing to do with the political theme of the article. You are pathetic.

  • MrPratt January 25, 2017 at 11:47 am

    Like every spring the snowflakes melt and the solid ground beneath is exposed.

  • ladybugavenger January 25, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    I’ll give them credit for all 40 of them having the same reason to be there. And all 40 of them protesting the same thing.

  • ladybugavenger January 26, 2017 at 11:46 am

    By the way, my mom made my sister get an abortion when she was 16. I’m not sure if my sister just thinks she has done know wrong and belongs on a pedestool or if it’s guilt from abortion and that’s her way of dealing with it.

  • ladybugavenger January 26, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    It didn’t get the rest of my comment it goes something like this:

    While all you women were marching the day after inauguration, Ladybug was at a job interview. I got the call today and I start Monday. Oh! And guess what? I get paid the same as a man!

    And for all you women protesting for abortion, shame on you!

    My daughter was 15 when she got pregnant with twins! I’d be damned if she thought about abortion. She said, it was never an option! That’s my girl! Taking responsibility for her actions instead of saying, oh! I’m pregnant, I’ll just go kill the baby so I don’t ruin my life.!

    They are healthy 5 yr old twin girls! So fun and loving at that age.

    Teach your girls to take responsibility for their actions, it makes them strong.

    Then I went to explain about my sister to show I’m not immune from abortion being in my family. No one talks about the guilt that comes with abortion. They call it shame, as if it coming from the outside in. But it’s guilt that comes with abortion and it’s from the inside out.

    Shame is on my mother for making her get an abortion and she did so because my mother didn’t want shame or people looking at her with crossed eyes that my sister was pregnant. and yet I say, shame on my mother. Bless her heart.

    • comments January 26, 2017 at 1:56 pm

      well, it’s a complex issue with no easy solutions or choices.

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