Friday, January 27, 2006

Ford Spends Day in Lebanon

U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr., D-Memphis, spent the better part of the day Tuesday visiting in Lebanon.

He toured University Medical Center and the Hartmann Luggage manufacturing facility, was a guest at Lebanon’s afternoon Rotary Club and visited with fourth graders at Coles Ferry Elementary.

And he made a couple of other stops, including a brief appearance at The Wilson Post, before meeting with supporters and others at a public reception late yesterday afternoon held at the Chop House restaurant on the Castle Heights Hill.

Ford, a democratic party candidate seeking to fill a seat in the U.S. Senate to be vacated by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Nashville, spent most of the day discussing his recent visit to Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Although at UMC the congressman met with hospital administrators, physicians and other healthcare professionals where much of the conversation was centered around a number of pending healthcare issues ranging from the cost and complexity of certain pharmaceutical issues to rising healthcare costs to other issues including concerns about the Family Leave Act and one question about violence being seen on television and consequences this is having on children.

Ford, in a brief statement, told members of the Lebanon Rotary that the next “six to nine months” in Iraq were going to be critical.

He said he believes the United States is making progress in its war in the Middle East and suggested that it should be prepared to beef up resources if need be in order to complete its mission there.

Ford said he had spoken with a young soldier from Kingsport while in Iraq who told him he wanted to see the U.S. make a commitment to finish what it had begun there. He said the soldiers said he wanted the U.S. to complete its mission there because he didn’t want his children 10 or 15 years from now or for that matter anyone else’s children in the future to have to go there and fight again in another war but in the same circumstance.

(A column written by Ford and published in The Washington Post Saturday addressing his recent trip to the Middle East appears on today’s editorial page).

Ford said it is important that the new government in Iraq now writes a constitution that respects all people including women and certain religious groups and that the new constitution addresses unity in government.

He also cautioned that the work of the U.S. is not done in Afghanistan despite what many members of Congress may believe as well as others. He said the U.S. must continue to provide the necessary resources to help deter the rise of insurgents in Afghanistan and to secure the government there.

Source: The Wilson Post