Truckers discuss issues with Sen. Hillary Clinton

| 4/1/2008

When trucker Mark Kirsch organized a rally in Pennsylvania to draw attention to fuel prices, he did not expect it to lead to a meeting the same day with presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Kirsch and a number of other truckers had just completed a rally Monday, March 31, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, PA, when he got a call from a member of Clinton’s campaign staff.

The staff member told Kirsch that the truckers were welcome to attend a Clinton campaign stop at the Capitol Diner in Harrisburg.

A short time later, Clinton greeted the truckers in the parking lot and invited Kirsch and another trucker, Mike “J.B.” Schaffner, to join her at a roundtable discussion inside the diner. Harrisburg mayor Stephen Reed also participated in the discussion.

“I never expected this, I’ll tell you that,” Kirsch told Land Line.

He said the discussion included many of the major campaign issues including the economy. The truckers had a chance to call it as they see it out there on the road.

“We discussed a lot of issues about fuel surcharges, about fuel in general, about Wall Street and the oil commodities,” Kirsch said.

“She addressed a lot of issues on that stuff, and things went very well. I never thought I’d be sitting at a luncheon with Sen. Clinton.”

The meeting put a capstone on a day that Kirsch calls successful because of the attention the media and the public paid to truckers.

“I think we took a giant leap today,” he said.

Kirsch’s rally was separate from the calls for a strike on Tuesday, April 1.

He said some of the truckers at the Harrisburg rally were going to continue to protest, but that others were going back to work taking loads.

“We’re going about this in a very professional manner,” he said.

The next step for the organizers of the Harrisburg rally, he said, is to put together another event to get the attention of lawmakers in Washington, DC.

Kirsch said he was grateful to have already made direct contact with Clinton.

– By David Tanner, staff writer