Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Senate Candidate Ford Outlines Vision For America

U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr. made UTM a stop along his campaign trail on Oct. 13. Ford spoke students and faculty during a small lunch-time reception and later returned to UTM as a guest speaker during the Weakley County Democratic meeting that was hosted in the UC ballroom.

Ford is one of six people who are running for the U.S. Senate election in 2006.The Pacer was given an exclusive interview with Rep. Ford to talk about some of the issues facing America and some of the reason why he is running as a U.S. Senate candidate.

What makes you get up in the morning and serve as a Congressman and makes you want to be our next U.S. Senator?
The opportunity to turn the country for the better right now is so great. I love the country and I love the challenge with what we have to do in the next ten years: reduce our dependence on oil, make it where every kid can go to college and graduate school and get the budget situation in Washington straightened out.

If you were in the Senate right now, how would you have voted during the confirmation hearings for John Roberts and how would you vote for Harriet Miers?
I would have voted for yes (for Roberts). I don’t know enough about her (Harriet Miers).

Why should college students consider you as a candidate for the U.S. Senate?
This election is about the future. If ten years from now, fifteen years from now, we’re still going to the gas station to pump oil, we’ve failed. If ten years from now, more kids haven’t graduated college with science and math and engineering degrees, then we’ve failed. If ten years from now college is ten times or even five times more expensive than it is now, then we’ve failed. That’s why I think college students in this election, this election is so important to college students.

Looking back at Hurricane Katrina, what do you think the three branches of government could have done differently?
We’ve got to move forward. We have to make sure that we don’t make the same mistakes. We have not yet had an independent commission look at what is wrong with FEMA (Federal Emergnecy Management Agency). I can only tell you what I see from looking at it from the outside. It is obvious that there is not the coordination between the federal government and other entities. It is obvious that the agency FEMA can be overwhelmed pretty easily. They should always prepare for the absolute worse when they go in cities and towns to work with people. And I think finally, we have seen now that the military is going to have to play a large role when it comes to emergency preparedness and response. There is a proposal being considered in Washington right now that would create a division in what we call the Northern Command in Colorado. The sole purpose of that force would be to respond to natural disasters. We need to look at this and explore this, but the administration has been reluctant to do this.

What advice do you have to offer to college students today?
Do the hard stuff. Take science, math, engineering, and related courses. If you have learned Spanish or French, then thank God. But, I would encourage you to learn another one: Mandarin, Farces, Arabic, something that we like to consider mission critical. The Chinese will be our biggest competitor. I would encourage science, math engineering and a foreign language.

The other Democratic contender in the U.S. Senate race is state Sen. Rosalind Kurita. Kurita is a former commissioner for Montgomery County, a businesswoman and a nurse.

Republican contenders in the Senate race include Ed Bryant, Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker, and Van Hilleary. Bryant is a former congressman, former U.S. attorney, an army veteran and a candidate in the 2002 Senate race.

Mayor Corker is a former real estate developer. Hilleary is a former congressman, attorney, Gulf War Veteran and a nominee for the 2002 governor’s race in Tennessee.

Candidate John Jay Hooker is running as an independent. He is currently an attorney, a former newspaper publisher and a frequent candidate in many elections.

Source: The Pacer