Edwards offers his vision of the future

Kari Petrie

Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. John Edwards said there is a need to create more jobs and provide adequate health care Monday at a rally on Harriet Island.

Edwards spoke to a crowd of 12,000 people at the St. Paul Annual Labor Day Picnic, city police estimated.

In a slight southern drawl, the North Carolina senator explained that people have lost jobs and health-care coverage since President George W. Bush was elected.

“The facts are overwhelming,” he said.

Since 2000, the country lost more than 1.5 million jobs and 5 million people lost their health care, Edwards said.

John Dreier, a recent University of St. Thomas graduate, said he supports Edwards and presidential running mate Sen. John Kerry because of their views on the economy.

Since graduating last May, Dreier said he has had a hard time finding work and welcomes Edwards’ views.

University of Minnesota communication studies senior Nicki Anderson said the handling of the United States’ occupation in Iraq is an important issue for her.

“If Bush is re-elected, I really fear what’s going to happen in the next four years,” she said.

Anderson said she has friends and family who will go to Iraq next month, and is scared for their safety.

Mike Faber, who attended the rally with Anderson, agreed with her.

“Fear seems to be a resounding theme,” he said.

A former “anyone but Bush” supporter, Faber said he started to support the Democratic candidates because of Edwards.

Faber, 26, compared Edwards to former President Bill Clinton.

“He’s young and exciting,” he said.

Faber said he is concerned about Bush’s foreign policy plans and the tax breaks given to the middle class.

Edwards said he and Kerry would get rid of tax cuts for companies who outsource jobs to other countries. They would also give tax cuts to companies keeping jobs in this country, Edwards said.

He said Bush has gone to war with working men and women by taking away jobs and not supporting labor unions.

“We’ve gone from collective bargaining to collective begging in America,” he said.

Once in office, Kerry and Edwards will raise the minimum wage, he said.

But Faber said he worries politicians don’t listen to young people, and that young people know they aren’t heard.

“I hope that changes,” he said

Kari Hudson, a Minnesota State-Mankato sports management sophomore, said she thinks politicians ignore young voters.