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Correction to This Article
This article, about a pro-government march planned to coincide with Saturday's Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, misstated the location of that rally, sponsored by Comedy Central stars Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. It will be held on the eastern end of the Mall between Third and Seventh streets, not at the Lincoln Memorial.

Pro-government march planned

 Steve Ressler, left, founder of GovLoop chats a Nicholas Charney of Canada at a recent conference. Federal government workers gather at a bar after a conference in Arlington, Va.
Steve Ressler, left, founder of GovLoop chats a Nicholas Charney of Canada at a recent conference. Federal government workers gather at a bar after a conference in Arlington, Va. (Katherine Frey/the Washington Post)

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By Ed O'Keefe
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 25, 2010; 10:30 PM

Amid a flurry of media reports about dissatisfaction with federal employees, a group of younger, Web-savvy federal workers is planning to march Saturday in defense of their coworkers on the same day as a rally at the Lincoln Memorial organized by comedian Jon Stewart.

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Organizers of the Government Doesn't Suck March said that they plan to attend Stewart's rally and that they were inspired in part by media reports, including a recent Washington Post poll that revealed negative perceptions of federal workers.

"We hear it day in and day out ... federal employees are lazy, and their positions are redundant," said march organizer Steve Ressler, founder of GovLoop, a social networking Web site for public servants.

"It's time to turn the tables and remind the world that government employees just happen to be people - people that don't suck," Ressler said in announcing the march.

Government workers "are a lot of cool cats" who work hard, listen to good music and watch Stewart's "The Daily Show," "but that's all after they've spent a whole day keeping the country running," he said.

Ressler's attempt to raise awareness while having fun is in the same spirit as Saturday's Rally to Restore Sanity, organized by Stewart and fellow Comedy Central star Stephen Colbert.

It's unclear how many people plan to attend Saturday's Sanity rally, but more than 200,000 people have said on Facebook that they plan to attend. Satellite rallies are scheduled nationwide. Several notable figures have donated their time and money to the event, including commentator Arianna Huffington and talk show hosts Oprah Winfrey and Larry King.

Ressler said his march to the rally is expected to draw most of its participants from GovLoop, the Web site he launched in 2008 while working for the Department of Homeland Security in Florida.

The site has more than 36,000 members - most younger than 35 - across the country and around the world, who swap ideas, share tips, and arrange to meet virtually or in person with counterparts from local, state, federal and international government agencies. The site grew quickly and last year Ressler left DHS to run it full time.

The march to Stewart's Sanity rally is scheduled to start at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the north end of the National Air and Space Museum.

Ressler said he hopes government workers and others are able to "put a human face on governmental bureaucracy, to show the country that you're capable of having a laugh and to send a reminder that we're not red tape, we're not slack-jawed desk jockeys."

(The Washington Post is establishing a content partnership with GovLoop as part of its coverage of the federal government.)


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