MEDFORD - Massachusetts Senator John Kerry began the 2006 grassroots campaign for in-state Democrats by meeting with college Democrats yesterday in Paige Hall at Tufts University. Ninety college students from universities around Massachusetts squeezed into the small hall to hear Kerry speak about the importance of their volunteer work with the Massachusetts Democratic Party in the last presidential election. "You have no idea what a difference you made," Kerry said to the students.
Kerry began by highlighting the strong points of the presidential election in 2004 and stated a strong confidence in winning the Senate elections in 2006. "I won 10 million more votes than any Democratic presidential nominee ever," he said in regards to the 2004 presidential election versus current President George W. Bush. He was met with applause when he mentioned, "It's a sad time for our country," in reference to President Bush's policies.
Kerry believes other nations depend on the United States to make a difference and that under President Bush's control, other countries do not have that support. Kerry hopes a Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate will help the country to "make sense of the despair and frustration" the nation now has. He encouraged young Democrats to convince more of their friends to fight for the Democratic cause, and to also involve younger teenagers so that they are more aware of the issues when it comes time for them to go to the voting booths. He remained confident that there will be a Democratic majority in the Senate in 2006.
Kerry said "reality and truth are values that define us as a nation" and that the country needs truth now more than ever before. He referenced the war in Iraq as the main truth the American people need to hear. "The presence of troops in Iraq are part of the problem. Success will not depend on how long we stay, the Iraqis will say 'we're going to let them stay as long as we want," said Kerry. "I think that's wrong. It's time for Iraqis to police Iraqis, it's time for Iraqi's to stand up to Iraq."
Kerry then emphasized education, saying that "53 percent of high school students in the United States do not graduate high school." China and India are racing further ahead in education and technology fields and that this calls for a new national educational plan, he said.
Kerry says he wants to fix intelligence in the country; he wants good foreign policy and believes America needs to be less dependant on Saudi oil.
During the question and answer session, an Emerson College student asked Kerry what main party initiatives the Democratic grassroots organization should be focusing on. The five issues Kerry stated were energy, healthcare, fiscal spending, educational funding and homeland security. All of these, Kerry said, the student Democrats should be aware of and voice their awareness to other young citizens.
He also shared encouraging words to the grassroots volunteers. "I've seen the civil rights movement, the women's and environmental movements, and it was grassroots that succeeded in changing things," said Kerry. Kerry concluded by giving the students a little lesson in politics. "All politics is a reaction to felt needs. You need to get people to feel the need. Our job is to make sure the right felt need is taken into consideration."
(From November 07, 2005 )