Long Island activist shows up to back Schumer on 'fiscal cliff'

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Charlene Obernauer conceded it was a "kumbaya" meeting, but she said she felt it was important to trek from Hauppauge to Washington today to talk for a few minutes with a staffer in Sen. Charles Schumer's office.

Obernauer is executive director of the activist group Long Island Jobs with Justice, and she said she wanted to make sure the senior New York Democratic senator knows her group supports his position on letting the Bush tax rates expire on those making $250,000 or more and that Medicare and Medicaid should be protected in negotiations on the "fiscal cliff."

"In general we just talked about the fiscal cliff and wanted to get some feed back," she said after her meeting.

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"Look, all of the senators are getting people from both sides coming in," Obernauer said. "Even though it was a kumbaya meeting, we wanted to show Schumer we’re committed enough to meet with you and your staff and show support for your positions."

Long Island Jobs for Justice is one of 40 chapters nationally that supports workers' rights and works with labor, religious and student groups.

"Right now, working people, low income people, can't afford to lose things like Medicare and Medicaid," Obernauer said. "We want to make sure that these social safety nets are still there."

Her group, which included representatives of Jobs with Justice from New York City and Buffalo, had also hoped to talk with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, but no meeting could be arranged.

Obernauer also said she will try to meet with Rep. Pete King (R-Seaford) back in his district.

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