Vote Kerry on Super Tuesday

There are two real contenders left in the Democratic presidential nomination race. Both are qualified for the job – but for 2004, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., is the smart choice for Minnesotans.

Many of Kerry’s plans depend on tackling the tax cuts the Bush administration gave to the wealthiest Americans. His ideas on where that money should go are commendable and they start with education.

Kerry rightly recognizes the flaws in President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act. He supports mandatory funding for schools and supporting teachers. Bush’s plan pulls funding from schools that do not meet the new standards, but Kerry would do exactly the opposite – schools cannot improve their curriculums without funding. A good secondary education is crucial to succeed in college.

Kerry’s proposed college tax credits and “Service for College” plan will give more Americans the chance to attend college. He also supports postsecondary options for high school students, as well as advanced placement classes, and these opportunities would likely increase college graduation rates.

Kerry extends his “affordability” concept to health care, proposing that all Americans should have access to the same health benefits as members of Congress. He also supports funding medical research to keep the United States on the cutting edge of medical technology – and that commitment also benefits research institutions such as the University.

Kerry’s environmental ideals focus on Americans’ health as well. His proposed Environmental Protection Agency “Toxics Task Force” would help clean up communities, and his “Conservation Covenant” would strengthen regulation of private companies’ public land use. Kerry also plans to reverse Bush’s harmful “Clear Skies” policies and lead a campaign to clean the U.S. water supply. He thankfully realizes that pristine wilderness areas such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge should not be exploited for oil, but instead supports investing in cleaner, domestic energy sources to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

Kerry’s foreign policy experience is what sets him apart in the Democratic Party. He served for 18 years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; was chairman of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs; served in Vietnam; and wrote “The New War,” a book about current U.S. national security issues.

Kerry’s proposed “First Defenders” initiative would provide better equipment for firefighters and police to make communities more prepared in the event of an emergency of any magnitude. His idea to simplify the domestic intelligence bureaucracy rather than add more complications (such as Bush’s Terrorist Threat Integration Center) make sense. With less paper to push, sharing intelligence becomes more efficient.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, foreign relations and national security are concerns for all Americans. Terrorism is a real threat, and the Democrats need a presidential candidate that can stand up to Bush on foreign affairs and homeland security.

Kerry has the ideas and the experience to be a viable contender for the U.S. presidency. Vote John Kerry in tomorrow’s Democratic primary.