30-Hour Vigil Comes To Close; Ness Sides With Middle Class

By KBJR News 1

December 1, 2012 Updated Dec 1, 2012 at 11:49 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Northlanders are also discussing what's at stake for families and businesses in the fiscal cliff negotiations.

The 30 hour vigil at the Federal Building in downtown Duluth came to an end.

But on Saturday, Northland leaders joined those rallying, encouraging people to contact their lawmakers to reach a compromise.

"I come from a really poor family," Kevin Potter, a vigil attendee, said.

Dozens of citizens stood outside the Gerald W. Heaney Federal Building over night on Friday.

"It's just tough," Potter said.

They have a message.

"We are striving to protect the middle class. End these severe gouges that are being taken out of the backbone of this country and given to the top one—two percent of the richest people," Zachary Hillman, a vigil attendee, said.

The 30–hour vigil aimed to capture the attention of lawmakers such as Republican Congressman Chip Cravaack, who has an office at the federal building.

Vigil attendees are asking for an extension of the middle–class tax cuts and to repeal additional cuts for the top two percent.

"We understand the importance of extending these tax cuts for the middle class, to provide that certainty, to continue with momentum in this recovering economy." Mayor Don Ness said.

Mayor Ness believes the additional tax cuts for the top two percent should end.

"The two sides are the middle class on one side and Grover Norquist and his tax pledge on the other side," Ness said.

Norquist, the President of Americans for Tax reforms, is a leader in the creation of the tax pledge that has lead to the definition of the fiscal cliff.

"Let our elected representatives know how important this is to you. That we have better equity in our tax system and that we do this now," Emily Larson, a Duluth Citycouncilwoman, said.

"I'm am mom. I have two kids. I've raised kids. I work in the community. We are all going to feel the effects of this if congress does not get this done." Jackie Halberg, , a vigil attendee, said.

"I think it was really important to gather and to bring into the light how important these issues are. And like Simonson said, we need to stop looking at these issues, such as the fiscal cliff, as bipartisan issues. Stop the bickering and start learning how to work together in Washington," Katie Humphrey, a vigil attendee, said.

The vigil started Friday at 7 A.M.

Justin Reis, NNC. jreis@northlandsnewscenter.com