Kerry stops on Main Street

If stressing hope makes people “Believe in America,” Senators John Kerry and John Edwards, the recently nominated Democratic presidential and vice presidential candidates, have taken a step forward in their campaign.

The Kerry-Edwards “Belive in America” tour rolled into Bowling Green Sunday to speak to a packed crowd of union workers, firefighters, students and local citizens that lined Main Street. Bowling Green was one of 40 stops on a 15 day agenda.

Kerry and Edwards took the stage with Senator John Glenn and Edwards’ wife Elizabeth. Teresa Heinz Kerry missed the event to care for a sick family member.

Glenn spoke to the crowd about Bush voters who are re-considering their choice in November.

“I find a lot of Republicans are very disenchanted because they voted for one thing, and got another… A lot of Republicans are telling me they’re seriously considering whether they’re going to vote for Bush again,” Glenn said.

Edwards assured the crowd they will form an America everyone will believe in. He and Kerry want to make sure all families have the opportunity to get health care and send kids to college.

“We believe in hope over despair, possibilities over problems; optimism over cynicism,” Edwards said. “We believe in doing what’s right, even when others say it can’t be done, because this is an America where anything is possible.”

The Vice-Presidential candidate said his ticket will provide a better defense system for America. He said Kerry will build a strong military and alliances that prevent Americans from going to war needlessly.

Edwards did not back down, however, from terrorism, sending a notice to America’s international threats.

“You cannot run, you cannot hide. We will destroy you,” Edwards said, bringing cheers from the audience.

Kerry spoke of growth and prosperity the ticket intends to bring to America.

“People want an America that they know can do better,” Kerry said. “People want an America that reaches for their dreams. People want an America that lives up to our values.”

One value Kerry mentioned is families. He expressed dissatisfaction with decisions from President Bush that have hurt families.

“You don’t value families when you cut kids from after-school programs and you cut costs so that Enron can get another tax cut,” he said as the crowd applauded.

Kerry also explained his plans to revamp the economy and bring additional health care benefits.

He and Edwards plan to listen to citizens and discuss getting to the top of the job market.

A Kerry economy will remove President Bush’s tax cuts to the wealthy. Those tax cuts will instead be given to working and middle class households. Job out-sourcing will also be limited.

“What does it mean when some people have to train their own replacements, from another country, for the job that they used to have?” Kerry asked. “America can do better, and help is on the way.”

Amongst his plans to improve America, Kerry also shared a story that related well with Ohioans. He showed the crowd a buckeye he was given upon landing in Ohio last week.

Kerry said he plans to carry the buckeye throughout his entire campaign and, hopefully, to the White House.

“All the way to the White House,” he said. “When I get there, it’s going to sit on the desk at the White House.”

While discussing his plans for the economy, Iraq and health care, Kerry entertained the crowd with another debatable topic.

“We’ll make the tough decisions, but there’s one tough decision I refuse to make,” Kerry said. “I’m not choosing between the Falcons and the Rockets.”

Wood County Democratic Chairman Allen Baldwin opened the event, followed by speeches from Sen. Eric Fingerhut, Toledo Mayor Jack Ford and U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, among other prominent Democrats.

The speakers emphasized to the crowd that Wood County will be important in the November election.

“In 1992 Bill Clinton carried Wood County, and he carried Ohio,” Baldwin said. “In 1996 he did it again. He carried Wood County, and carried Ohio. Four years ago we just barely missed it here in Ohio and in Wood County.”

Kaptur said she planned to give Kerry a letter asking him to travel with her to places in the community that have lost many jobs. She lamented that when she sent the same letter to President Bush in 2001, he did not respond.

“I talked to President Bush after I sent him that letter,” Kaptur said. “He said to me, ‘Oh, your letter must have gotten lost in the shuffle.’ I know who I want to get lost in the shuffle.”