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Kerry Says Democrats Can Make a More Secure Nation

by Pamela Leavey

Massachusetts Senator John Kerry was in Story City, Iowa on Saturday stumping for Democrat Rich Olive, who is running for the Iowa Senate District 5 seat.

(John Kerry and Rich Olive)

At the fundraising event for Rich Olive, Kerry “challenged Democrats to take back statehouses and governor’s mansions across the nation in November, saying the country has become less secure under Republican control.”

The fact is, the United States of America is less secure today than we were five years ago,” he said. “Less secure because North Korea has four or five times more weapons …. Iran is running amok, the Middle East — the wheels are coming off, and Iraq is a quagmire.”

Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, said “there’s a better course for America,” and that begins with electing Democrats in 2006.

“Who you chose for your local races is going to have a profound impact on the country as a whole,” said Kerry, who was making his fourth trip to Iowa since the state’s leadoff caucuses in January 2004.

As reported here in the past, John Kerry has been helping to raise money for state-level candidates around the country for months. He said on Saturday that he’s “focused on helping other Democrats such as Olive win in 2006, and not on a potential run for president in 2008.”

“I’m here because ’06, not ’08, is really important,” said Kerry, who has raised and given $10 million to Democratic candidates and committees through his own political action committee.

Kerry took some time to explain what’s happened since his defeat by President Bush.

“When you run for president of the United States … and you come as close as we did and you get knocked on your butt, you have to dust yourself off and pick yourself up,” he said. “It’s a good time to take stock about what life is about, what our country is about and what our challenges are.”

The Tribune Online reports more…

[Kerry] said he thinks the public is “tired of a government full of words and broken promises” and partisanship.

“(We should) represent all people,” Kerry said. “Not a group of powerful special money interests. (Rich Olive) is a truth-teller. He is a guy who is just hardcore values. … (He will help) break the partisan logjam.”

During the brunch, Olive said Iowa “needs to do a better job retaining jobs and a better job recruiting jobs.”

He said if the state’s economic development and job market were secure, young people would have more incentive to remain in the state.

Olive also said he supports increasing teacher wages and controlling high tuition levels so “everybody can go on to some kind of secondary education.”

Kerry mentioned similar issues and also talked about the national budget.

“We are spending billions of dollars exporting democracy,” he said. “(We should) spend money on democracy here at home.”

Kerry addressed the war in Iraq directly, saying, “Iraq is a quagmire.”

Other topics he spoke of included shrinking pensions, incompetent elected officials, energy independence and rising health care costs.

“We can make health care available to every single American,” Kerry said. “It is achievable without breaking the bank, I promise you.”

Also in attendance at the event were “Selden Spencer, D-Huxley, who is running against Tom Latham, R-Alexander, in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives; State Sen. Herman Quirmbach; Story County Supervisor Wayne Clinton; and Story County Sheriff Paul Fitzgerald.”

* AP Photos – Charlie Neibergall

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