Kucinich crashes campus

Stephen DeFilippo

Changing the nation and giving future generations the chance to make a better world is what Dennis Kucinich’s presidency will be about, said the Ohio representative to a crowd on East Campus Monday.

 “We need to reclaim America,” Kucinich said to 200-person crowd. “Reclaim its goodness, reclaim its decency, [and] reclaim its honor on its accountability to the law.”

Kucinich is the second presidential candidate to visit City College this month, with Illinois senator Barack Obama making a stop on West Campus Sept. 8.

During his 40-minute speech, the Democratic presidential hopeful focused on education, health care, global climate change, and the Patriot act.

Kucinich said he believes in investing in youth instead of weapons and change the system that he claims is bent on war and create a system based on peace and education.

As president, he said  he wants to establish free public education for all available from age 3 up through college and to set public education at the highest levels of responsibility for the federal government.

“I have a plan for a universal college education,” Kucinich said. “Every young person who wants to go to a public college or university would be able to go tuition-free.”

Kucinich added that he thinks it is insane to have a situation where it takes 10 years to pay off college debt.

Kucinich spoke of doubling the education budget, adding that a 15 percent cut in what he calls a ” bloated Pentagon budget” will allow $75 billion a year to go to funding universal pre-kindergarten education and would free up more money for elementary schools.

Merging his plan for education with his plan for the environment, Kucinich called for a “consciousness of sustainability” to be built into our education system by teaching young as early as possible. In his plan, Kucinich said he is ready to lead the world in an effort to stabilize the global climate.

“Every area of the federal government will be challenged to move towards sustainability,” Kucinich said.

Kucinich also wants to reorganize the Department of Agriculture in encouraging and implementing sustainable policies in farming. Protecting organic farmers, challenging food monopolies, and promoting local community farming are all elements of his stance on environmental issues.

“America needs to go green, and I hope to lead the way to do that,” Kucinich said.

What’s more, Kucinich told the crowd that Congress has the power to end the war in Iraq now.

“We should not have to wait for the next president to bring these troops home,” he said. However, as president, Kucinich said that within his first 3 months, he would hold an international peacekeeping security force that would move-in when U.S troops are pulled-out and bases are closed.

Kucinich also pledged to prosecute every person involved in building a false case for war under criminal law. This includes President George W. Bush, and Vice President Dick Cheney, he said.

“Instead of a government controlling us, we need to control this government,” Kucinich urged.

Kucinich also advocated universal health care, ending No Child Left Behind Act, dismantling the Patriot Act, and even abolishing all nuclear weapons.

After Kucinich finished his speech, he then handed the microphone over to his wife, Elizabeth, when she shared some of the reasons she believes why her husband should be elected. “He didn’t vote for the Patriot act because he read it,” Elizabeth said as the audience chuckled.

The event was co-sponsored by student clubs Student Labor Action Project (SLAP) and the Student Sustainability Coalition (SSC). SLAP set up a table next to the event where they gathered enough signatures to host a City College club chapter of “Students for Kucinich.”