Editor's note: This article was updated on Sept. 6, 2016, to reflect that John Moran is a Democratic candidate for the Windham-Bennington state representative seat. He does not currently hold the position, as previously stated.

BENNINGTON — More than 30 people gathered at the St. Peter's Episcopal Church lawn on Monday to have a cookout and speak out on issues in the workplace in honor of Labor Day.

State Rep. Kiah Morris, D-Bennington 2-2, and John Moran, a Democratic candidate for the Windham-Bennington state representative seat, both spoke, as well as members of the Rights and Democracy group who hosted the event. The group members sported green T-shirts with the group name on the front and "together we win" on the back.

Moran — who worked with Vermont Senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders — noted that a revolution is necessary even though it's 40 years too late.

"One of the key things we're talking about...our slogan is $15 an hour," he said. "We absolutely need that. We need a livable wage. I put a bill in for $15 years ago. It's not that we need a livable wage for working Vermonters, we need a livable income for all Vermonters. For those on disability. They need to have a livable wage. Senior citizens, and workers. We need to broaden that concept."

He continued with references to the Declaration of Independence and "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."


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"If the rights are not happening in a normal process in the economic system, then it's our responsibility as a government to make sure it does," he said.

Morris shared a story about an African American male who had been searching for a job for more than a year. When he finally secured a retail position, he experienced a moment when a customer chose not to be checked out by him.

"This is the worst thing I ever heard of. These are the working conditions people are in right now," Morris said. "The labor movement has given a huge opportunity for us to be able to directly impact what's happening in the work environment."

Other members and residents spoke on personal experiences after the representatives talked.

— Contact Makayla McGeeney at 802-490-6471.


John Moran, a Democrat running for state representative, reflects on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness at a speak out event at the St.
John Moran, a Democrat running for state representative, reflects on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness at a speak out event at the St. Peter's Episcopal Church on Labor Day. Monday, September 5. (Makayla McGeeney — Bennington Banner)