A crowd of protesters gathered outside the Fullerton Marriott on campus Friday to protest Congressman Ed Royce (R – Fullerton) as he spoke to a group of about 100 inside the building.
Congressman Royce, who represents California’s 39th district in Congress, presented a legislative update at the “Insider’s Briefing” sponsored by the Fullerton Chamber of Commerce, Farmers and Merchants Bank.
Royce, Cal State Fullerton alumni, addressed the topic of small business and how they are impacted by current government policies to an audience including local small business owners and government officials.
“When I first ran for office, I ran as a small businessman,” Royce said during the briefing.
He discussed his opinion that small businesses have had difficulty flourishing in the current economic state.
According to Royce, small businesses are the first to scale back when coming out of a recession.
He stated that 75 percent of the people employed in the country are employed by small businesses.
“. . . That number has dropped here over the last couple years because as it’s gotten harder and harder to start a small business and as the costs have gone up … Now the hiring isn’t there,” Royce said.
Royce also said the nation’s practice of oil importing and exporting has affected small businesses.
“Our competitors will have a lower price of energy than we do and that will be especially important … if you’re in small business … there’s a significant energy devoted to whatever you’re manufacturing,” Royce said.
According to Royce, the higher price paid for transportation due to oil prices puts extra strain on the budget of U.S. small businesses.
“We are still trying to put the pressure on the White House to reverse course,” Royce said of the current conflict between the U.S. and Canada on oil importing.
Meanwhile outside the Marriott, some protesters held signs and led chants stating, “Ed Royce, hear our voice, citizenship is the only choice.”
“(Royce) has been in office way, way too long,” said Linda Gardner, one of the individuals protesting outside and a member of the Democrats of North Orange County.
The Democrats of North Orange County were protesting alongside the Progressive Democrats of America, and with children of undocumented immigrants.
Among the protesters was Carole Levers the Progressive Democrats of America North Orange County Chapter Leader who has been involved with the organization for about two and a half years.
“Many of the kids that were there chanting today are ‘Dreamers,’ sons and daughters of undocumented persons. They are here not by their own choice but as a result of their parents moving here. These kids have grown up in the U.S and it is the only country that they have ever known,” Levers said. “By all standards they are Americans.”
According to Levers, PDA was founded in July 2004. They have been holding these types of protests as well as other events to promote their causes since their foundation.
“PDA is a nationwide organization that promotes progressive causes and candidates,” Levers said.
The protesters had hoped to get the opportunity to speak to Royce and express their concerns.
“All we’re asking is (for Royce to) hold a town hall meeting, give your constituents the opportunity to ask questions about your voting record and answer your voting record,” said Ida McMurray, a member of PDA who resides in La Habra.
PDA has asked Royce for his support via a letter drop done monthly by the organization, but have yet to receive a response from the Congressman, according to Levers.
The Fullerton Chamber of Commerce will be holding their next Insider’s Briefing Friday, Sept. 27 at the Fullerton Public Library.