By Nancy Rineman, Atlantic News Staff Writer
Atlantic News, Thursday, August 28, 2003
[The following article is courtesy of Atlantic News]
[Atlantic News Photo by Nancy Rineman]
HAMPTON — Senator John Edwards (D-NC) spent one of New Hampshire's hottest days in the heart of Hampton last Thursday as his presidential campaign made a scheduled stop at Widow Fletcher's Tavern.
More than 30 people gathered upstairs in the popular Seacoast eatery, despite the sweltering heat of the day, to hear the presidential hopeful address issues from the War in Iraq to health care.
Accompanied by his wife, Elizabeth, Edwards was introduced by former New Hampshire state senator Beverly Hollingworth, who had spent the day with the Edwards' family. Hollingworth stressed what she said she felt was important to the Democratic Party, finding a candidate to "win this race."
Edwards lost no time declaring what he said he regards as the biggest difference between himself and President George W. Bush, that of their backgrounds. Edwards spoke of the fact that he grew up 4 a working family, and that he considered the loss of 21/2 million jobs a "huge issue."
Edwards emphasized the need for a stronger trade commission along with the need to give tax breaks to replace jobs lost. He also suggested capital funding to give "seed" money to replace jobs in communities that are hit the hardest. He also denounced the disparity he said exists between the pay increase awarded CEOs and their employees.
"Taking care of people at the top to fix the economy is wrong," Edwards said.
Edwards also said the "No Child Left Behind" campaign and the lack of funds for Special Education puts an enormous burden on the federal government.
Edwards also said he worries about the disparity between schools in affluent areas those in less fortunate areas.
"I think we have two public school systems," Edwards said.
Edward's plans call for a national initiative to pay teachers better, bonuses to schools in less advantaged areas, and scholarships for teachers who work in less advantaged areas.
Under the area of health care, Edwards said that that care should be a birth right for every child in America. In addition, he said help is needed for families facing high insurance premiums, and that the cost of health care itself should be brought down.
An enormous amount of work in the area of civil rights is still needed, according to Edwards. As an example, the visiting presidential candidate said there is no excuse for women to be paid less than men.
With a number of questions and comments being raised regarding the War in Iraq, Edwards said while he voted for the resolution, he feels the President misjudged the level of resistance, putting "kids in a shooting gallery."
But Edwards noted that Americans by nature want a fight, and the situation becomes a leadership issue when a country is expected to be strong.