Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Ford Gets Closer to Tennessee Senate Seat

The good media reviews for Congressman Ford and his bid for the U.S. Senate just keep on coming!

The following article comes from Black Enterprise:

Gas prices, the war in Iraq, illegal immigration, and healthcare costs are among the issues most prominent in the minds of Tennessee voters, according to U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D-Tenn.).

“Energy and the cost of doing business in America are all tied into the gas price issue,” Ford said in an interview with . “Small businesses and people across my state are struggling to make ends meet.”

High energy and rising healthcare costs make it tough for small companies to compete and hampers the creation of new businesses, he said.

To reduce its dependence on oil, the U.S. needs to expand the use of alternative energy sources such as wind, solar, and farm-based products and build ethanol production plants, Ford said. He also supports drilling for natural gas off the Florida coast, mandates to compel car companies to increase the gas mileage of new vehicles, and tax breaks for companies working to improve hybrid cars.

Ford, 36, is looking to fill the seat being vacated by Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), who is retiring. He’ll face former Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker, former Rep. Ed Bryant, or former Rep. Van Hilleary, who are currently embroiled in a bitter race to win the Aug. 3 Republican primary. If successful, Ford would be the first African American senator from the former Confederacy since Reconstruction. Barack Obama, (D-Ill.) is the only African American currently serving in the U.S. Senate.

Ford and Bryant are dead even, with each taking 42% of the vote in a potential matchup, according to a recent Zogby International telephone survey. Against Hilleary, Ford trails by a narrow two-point margin, 43% to 41%. Corker leads Ford by the largest margin, 46% to 42%.

Ford’s chances may be strengthened by waning support for Republicans. In a July Gallup poll, 55% of people surveyed said they disapprove of President Bush’s job performance.

“There’s a frustration that so much in Washington is broken and I think the Republicans are going to bear the brunt of it,” Ford said. Ford is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, also known as the Blue Dog Democrats, a group of moderate and fiscally conservative Democrats that work to bridge the gap between ideological extremes.

One area Ford sees an opportunity for compromise is the war in Iraq. “I think President Bush has framed the issue where there are only two outcomes—either staying in or pulling out—but there are other options that should be considered,” Ford said.

He supports the three-state strategy proposed by Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) in a May 1 op-ed essay in The New York Times . Biden’s plan would create three regions, Shiite, Sunni and Kurd, with a central government in Baghdad. Under the arrangement, each group would be guaranteed a share of oil reserves.

“I don t think this president factored into his decision-making the complexity of the culture, history, religion, and the conflict that exists among the three different groups,” Ford said. Pulling out of the war now would strengthen [terrorist] groups such as Al Qaeda and Hezbollah, Ford said. He says he thinks a three-state strategy would attract international support; allow the U.S. to reduce its forces in the region; and give the Iraqis a chance to govern themselves.

“I think the American people, more than anything, want to win the effort in Iraq,” Ford said. “We can debate until the cows come home whether we were right to go into Iraq, but we are there now and we have to find a way to create a victory for ourselves and the Iraqi people.” Ford also supports creating an immigration policy that would increase security through heightened border patrols and would hold employers accountable for hiring undocumented workers.

“The key is this: Americans have the right to determine who comes in this country. You have to have an immigration policy and we are the ones that have to create the policy as a country,” Ford said.

After reading an interview like this, is there any question who should be our next U.S. Senator?

I think not!