HAVEN uses Merrill Labor Day Parade to raise awareness, politicians give thoughts on state of workforceSubmitted: 09/03/2018
Dakota Sherek
Dakota Sherek
Senior Reporter / Anchor

HAVEN uses Merrill Labor Day Parade to raise awareness, politicians give thoughts on state of workforce
MERRILL - Hundreds of people lined the streets of Merrill Monday for a grand Labor Day celebration. The city hosts an annual two hour parade to celebrate the holiday. 

For many in the community, it's a tradition. 

"We got here at 8:30, there's chairs lined up all of Main Street because they're marking their spot," said Judy Woller.

"It's just really fun to come out and support the community," said Lori Anderson-Malm.

That support goes beyond simply celebrating the holiday. For Woller, it's a chance to remind people of a larger issue.

"Oftentimes people forget," said Woller. 

Woller is the executive director of the Household Abuse Victims Emergency Network, or HAVEN, a group that helps victims of domestic abuse or sexual assault. 

"We want people to know that the services there are available free," said Woller.

Woller believes HAVEN has hosted a food booth at the parade for the last 28 years. It helps them spread awareness and raise some money.

"It also gives us an excuse to talk to everybody who comes through the parade," said Woller. "That's the most fun."

A fun time, that ultimately celebrates those who help Merrill succeed.

"We really appreciate everyone that's going to work every day," said Woller. "Hopefully everyone will have that opportunity in our community."

The Merrill parade featured more than just floats. Several politicians walked their way through town.

Both Congressman Sean Duffy (R-Weston) and his democratic challenger Margaret Engebretson took part in the parade.

Duffy says right now it's especially appropriate to celebrate workers in a time of economic growth.

"There's so much competition for your labor, and it's because of principals like streamlined government, lower taxes which gives us explosive growth, which helps the men and women who work in our factories and farms across America," said Duffy. 

Engebretson says aside from her work as an attorney and in the military, she's been a union worker. She says that Labor Day is about the power of solidarity and regular working people coming together.

Unlike Duffy however, Engebretson believes there is some room for improvement for Wisconsin workers.

"There was a lot of sacrifice that went into getting healthy working conditions and fair wages and that we need to maintain that and regain some of the ground we've lost, especially here in Wisconsin," said Engebretson.

Both Duffy and Engebretson also planned to visit Wausau Monday for some more Labor Day festivities. 

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