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John Kerry Urges Students to Volunteer

by Pamela Leavey

As I reported below John Kerry spent the day yesterday visiting with Massachusetts constituents. In Lynn, Ma, John Kerry urged North Shore Community College students to draw inspiration for their careers from time spent serving the less fortunate.”

Kerry spoke during a morning visit to Lynn about the value of public service through volunteering and about the national issues he built his 2004 campaign on.

He stopped short of saying he will seek the Democratic nomination again in 2008, leaving that speculation to NSCC President Wayne Burton who predicted “an all Massachusetts” slate of presidential candidates in two years with Kerry and Gov. Mitt Romney in contention.

Kerry told students involved in an NSCC program that combines their studies with volunteer programs how he visited racially segregated southern communities during a college vacation in the 1960s.

“I will never forget the shock of seeing a sign that said, ‘White Only, No Colored.’ I almost wish I took a whole year off before I went to college to go out into the community,” he said, urging the students to “see the problems of the world around you.”

Kerry and U.S. Rep. John Tierney said fewer federal resources are allocated for college volunteer service programs like North Shore’s at a time when President Bush is championing faith-based programs.

Kerry has a personal connection to North Shore – his sister, Diana, runs the college’s public policy center.

Students asked him how they can get state and national elected officials to provide more college aid for middle class students and more money to train senior care and other types of direct care workers.

Kerry urged them to counter balance “money-oriented” lobbying in Washington D.C. by mustering voter support for their causes.

“The most effective lobbying is to show the power of the ballot box.”

In the absence of adequate early childhood education and health care that can help children stay away from drugs, alcohol and lives of crime, Kerry said the nation is “content to run a farm team for prisoners.”

He ate ziti and meatballs at the Capital Diner with Tierney and state legislators Thomas M. McGee, Steven Walsh and Capital owner and state Rep. Robert Fennell and renewed an acquaintance with supporter Angelo Bellafinilo.

“He’s a stand up guy who is still standing up and doing the job,” the Lynn resident said.

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