Thursday, July 28, 2005

Ford Drives Home His Strategy

He is law school graduate, 35 years old and has already served almost 10 years in U.S. House of Representatives, and now Harold Ford Jr. is running on the Democratic ticket for the U.S. Senate seat.

Ford was the guest speaker at a Democratic dinner Saturday night and told the crowd he knew as a young man he was destined for a career in politics.

He graduated from college and worked for Bill Clinton in his presidential campaign. Ford was then employed at the White House for a short period of time. Afterward, he decided to attend law school. Ford announced his candidacy for U.S. House of Representatives in April 1996 and graduated from law school in May 1996. He won the primary election in August 1996 and was then elected to U.S. House of Representatives in November 1996.

Ford explained why he decided to run for the U.S. Senate seat.

"I’ve had a five good terms in the House," said Ford, "So much has changed over the last 10 years. When I first got to Congress, we were not at war. We were on the verge of balancing a budget for the first time. As a matter of fact, when I voted for Bill Clinton’s balanced budget in more than 30 years, and I was only 28 years old.

"We were on the verge of beginning to realize the benefits of welfare reform. More people were working. More jobs were being created. Fewer people were living in poverty.

"The country was not at war as we are today. As a matter of fact, I don’t think we really anticipated it."

Ford said the job situation was also different. Jobs were being created when he first took office. However, Ford said when he now looks at unemployment numbers in rural areas, he sees where the job base in these cities has been dependent on one or two major employers.

"You add all this up, and the U.S. Senate is where all the decisions are going to be made over the next 10 to 20 years – from Social Security to Medicare to how we create better jobs in the country, and national security issues," said Ford.

"And, I just believe the Senate needs a particular kind of approach to politics. My politics is not polarizing. It’s not divisive.

"the biggest and most urgent issue facing the country is Iraq. That’s what we deal with in the United States Senate. I’ve been there three times."

Ford said legislators didn’t need to be worrying about whether or not Bush was right or wrong to go into Iraq, but should concern themselves with how the United States is going to win the war.

"I would have done this differently, as many people would have," said Ford. "It’s clear Bush had no exit strategy. It’s kind of unfortunate that we’ve abandoned the [Colin] Powell doctrine.

Powell’s doctrine was simple. You identify your mission. You set a troop level, and you have an exit strategy. And, whatever troop level you set, you triple it to ensure that you overwhelm your enemy. You cut down on and minimize your number of casualties, and you get out quicker. We did exactly the opposite in Iraq.

"First, we’re going to have to do some things differently. I think the Senate is the place where the answers are going to emerge."

Ford said many people said he was taking a risk running for the U.S. Senate. Many asked him, "How do you justify it?" Ford referred to plant closings, such as Emerson Appliance in Sparta, and jobs being sent overseas. He also talked about the lack of proper education for children.

"Over the next 10 years, if we don’t figure out how to fix this education problem – it all goes hand-in-hand with jobs leaving – mismatch we face with Asia right now will only worsen.

"Most of our kids can tell you more about Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt than they can about science and math. The sad part is, kids want to learn more, but we haven’t changed the way we teach these kids."

Ford said there is on defining issue on the national level, which is for the United States to reduce it’s dependence on Middle East oil.

As Ford spoke about his future, he said he had faith the people of Tennessee would make the right decision.

"I think, in the end, people are going to hold me accountable for who I am, what I believe in and what I want to do," said Ford. "If people don’t do that and want to hold me accountable for something else or someone else, then I won’t win. But, I think people are fair and open-minded and are going to give me the chance to introduce myself and share my thoughts and base their vote on that."

From: The Sparta Expositor

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