Saturday, October 29, 2011
Two opposing groups met head-to-head in North Wichita Saturday. One group protested against Koch Industries, while the other rallied for the corporation.
Dozens of protesters, marched along 37Th street, voicing concerns of what they call secrecy in government.
"Lots of money has been put into our political system to buy votes, so I think you go where the money is, which is right here," said Connie Mann, protest or.
'Here' is Koch Industries, which was the rally point for the grassroots group Kansans United in Voice and Spirit.
The group says the Koch Industries headquarter building was chosen because the Koch brothers are part of the problem.
"In a lot of ways, we feel like they've co-oped in Kansas," said Mann. "We the people know what's going on."
"I'm out here to protest the selling of the government to the corporation," said Russ Pataky, protest or.
Not everyone was against large corporations, several turned out to show their support for Koch Industries.
"We just wanted to be here to provide a counter-voice that there is a support for economic freedom and liberalism, and Charles and David Koch support that," said Bob Weeks, supporter.
Others just hoped for a peaceful conversation, something they say they did not get to have in the short time protesters were on the lawn of Koch Industries.
"I think that many of them probably have, and we have some of the same complaints, but if all you're going to do is hand out the phrases somebody has given you, you're not going to get anywhere," said Shirley Koehn, supporter.
Melissa Cohlmia, Director of Corporate Communication with Koch Industries released the following statement Saturday.
"We respect all Americans’ rights to free speech and to peaceably assemble."
"Rather than protest an American company that employs 50,000 Americans, including more than 2,600 Kansans, we encourage citizens to turn their attention to the burden of excessive government spending, uncontrolled debt, and onerous regulations that are crippling our nation."
"As we have for decades, Koch's efforts will continue to be focused on producing products that people want and need, while promoting policies that will help grow our economy, foster free enterprise and create American jobs. We believe these goals are supported by most Americans and are critical to our nation's future."