by Courtney Kuns
Congressman (Cleveland, Ohio)
In 1977, at the age of 31, Cleveland, Ohio councilman Dennis Kucinich took office as mayor of Cleveland. After a 15-year political hiatus, he was appointed to Ohio Senate. In 1996, he was elected to serve Ohio in the U.S. House, where he remains.
Former presidential candidate Ralph Nadar; Rep. Lynn Woolsey; Sen. John Hottinger; singers Willie Nelson and Ani DeFranco; actors Ed Asner, Mimi Kennedy and actor/activist Danny Glover
As mayor, Kucinich refused to sell Cleveland’s city-owned power company, Muny Light, to a private company. Because of his rejection, Cleveland banks tied to the private company refused to roll over the city’s debts that year. Cleveland fell back on its deficit, the first U.S. city to do so since the Depression. Re-election failed, but the Cleveland city council later praised Kucinich for his decision – one that is said to have saved the city millions of dollars.
Issues at a glance A: Occupation of Iraq B: Economy C: Environment D: Health Care E: Civil Liberties
A: Kucinich is very, very anti-occupation of Iraq. He’s an aggressive advocate of peace. This year, he received the Gandhi Peace Award. If elected, he plans to push two bills that he currently sponsors in Congress. One piece of legislation will build a cabinet-level Department of Peace. The other bill, the Space Preservation Treaty, bans docking missiles in space.
B: Kucinich gets off fighting injustices of the American world, so a great deal of his economic policy is crafted with the “little guy” in mind. Like many of the other candidates, he’s out to level the corporate playing field – in other words, promote corporate integrity. But unlike many of the other candidates, Kucinich wants to withdraw the U.S. from NAFTA and WTO. The U.S. must form and enforce our own trade agreements, demanding that human rights and environmental standards are upheld overseas. He led 114 Democrats to Seattle, rallying Pres. Clinton to lobby WTO for improved environmental and workplace practices.
C: The Green Party’s past presidential candidate Ralph Nadar said he might not run for president if Kucinich wins the Democratic bid. Kucinich, a longtime critic of nuclear power, strongly pushes the use of safe, renewable energy sources across the globe.
D: Like Moseley Braun, forming a single-payer health care system is one of Kucinich’s primary platforms. The government would provide coverage to everybody. The money saved by switching to a single-payer system is the money used to pay for this universal health care system. Under the single-payer system, the government could buy prescription drugs in bulk, thereby lowering prescription prices and premiums.
E: Kucinich is the only Democratic candidate who’s a member of Congress who voted against implementing USA PATRIOT Act. He claims he will oust the Patriot Act as soon as he is voted into office. Although Kucinich is against abortion personally, he feels women should have the right to choose. It’s only recently he swung this way, after coming to the conclusion that without choice, women wouldn’t be equal to men. He promises to only nominate justices to the Supreme Court if they uphold Roe v. Wade.