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Dennis Kucinich on Principles & Values

Democratic Representative (OH-10)


Excluded from debate by Nevada Supreme Court ruling

The Las Vegas debate took place Jan. 15 at the Cashman Center in downtown Las Vegas, with Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards. An hour before the debate the Nevada Supreme Court ruled that NBC could exclude a 4th candidate, Dennis Kucinich, from the debate. Kucinich had attempted to force NBC to include him after the network withdrew an invitation due to his poor showings in opinion polls and in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary.
Source: FactCheck.org on 2008 Democratic debate in Las Vegas Jan 16, 2008

I’ve been right all along on Iraq, Iran, & healthcare

Q: What do you think the toughest choice you have left to make is? What haven’t you made up your mind on yet? And why haven’t you?

A: I wrestle with the question as to whether or not the president and the vice president should be held liable for crimes for taking us into a war based on lies. I mean, I’m ready to be president. I’ve been right all along on Iraq, on Iran, on not-for-profit health care and giving our children a chance for an education from age 3 all the way through to a degree.

Source: 2007 Democratic radio debate on NPR Dec 4, 2007

Ran for city council seat before he was old enough to vote

Kucinich made his first attempt at public office at age 20, filing a petition to run for a spot on the Cleveland City Council despite the fact that he couldn’t legally vote yet. That year, 1967, he was still a sophomore at Cleveland State University, studying toward a degree in communications.

Kucinich didn’t succeed in that first run for office, but just over 2 years later he did, joining the city council at the age of 23. If that span of 3 years shows the mark of an ambitious and unrelenting personality, it was only the beginning: Three years later, Kucinich ran for Congress.

He lost, but within two years the man who had defeated him retired. Kucinich then ran again for the seat. When he didn’t get the Democratic nomination, Kucinich ran as an independent.

He lost. Again. A few years passed, and then, readjusting his sights, Kucinich ran for mayor of Cleveland. Kucinich won, becoming, at age 31, the youngest big-city mayor in American history as the “Boy Mayor of Cleveland.”

Source: The Contenders, by Laura Flanders, p.153-154 Nov 11, 2007

Won House seat “Because he was right” as mayor

[After Cleveland went into default, over Muni Light, under his mayorship, Kucinich lost re-election]. In 1994, Kucinich’s stock was on the rise as the passage of time vindicated him: It turned out that Kucinich’s financial brinksmanship in the Muni Light affair had saved Cleveland citizens millions of dollars. In his run for the state senate his campaign posters featured a light bulb and the phrase, “Because he was right.” When he ran for Congress, in 1998, in a final bit of political absolution, Kucinich was honored by the Cleveland city council for “having the courage and foresight” to hang on to Muni Light despite paying the ultimate political price at the time.“

When Kucinich talks, today, as if he is convinced that he will be proven right eventually in every issue, and campaigns in New Hampshire and other battleground states as if ”Because he was right: Iraq edition“ will be a winning slogan at the presidential level, this experience can’t be far from his mind.

Source: The Contenders, by Laura Flanders, p.156-157 Nov 11, 2007

Met wife Elizabeth when she lobbied him on monetary policy

Elizabeth Kucinich, the tongue-stud-wearing daughter of a lefty British family, stands six feet tall without heels and looks like a model. Their love story is quintessential Kucinich. He met her when she came to his office on Capitol Hill two years ago t discuss monetary policy as part of her job with the American Monetary Institute. At the time of their meeting, Elizabeth’s last name was Harper, and the signature line on her emails included a quotation from the film Kama Sutra.

Kucinich, who had been single for twenty years, and who, in 2003, had told a N.H. political forum that his perfect soulmate would be “fearless in her desire for peace in the world and for universal, single-payer healthcare,” found himself awestruck. After the meeting he phoned a friend and exclaimed that he’d met his future wife.

Elizabeth also had a love at first sight moment. She later told an interviewer for The Tampa Tribune that upon meeting Kucinich, “I felt such hope for America. It made my heart sing.”

Source: The Contenders, by Laura Flanders, p. 158-160 Nov 11, 2007

Planned as teenager to become Mayor of Cleveland

[At age 17, my best friend Dan sought a sports scholarship to college]. “You going to college?” he asked me.

Nobody in my family ever went to college. I can’t even imagine it. [My teacher] Sister Estelle keeps telling me ‘You have to go to college to develop the skills God has given you.’ I think I will if I can ever get the money.“

While weighing possibilities against the odds, I was seized by an impulse, an intuition, to speak a strange thought. It had nothing to do with sports or college. I said it aloud as we continued our walk. “Dan. I can’t really tell you why I know this. But I just know it will happen. I’m going to be Mayor of Cleveland by the time I’m 30 years old!”

He did not disappoint me. He laughed. “Yeah, Dennis, you’re going to be Mayor of Cleveland, and I’m going to be John Glenn,” he guffawed.

I looked up at the stars, searching for more inspiration--as a star plummeted through the heavens. I made a wish. “I’m telling you, I know I’m going to be Mayor of Cleveland.”

Source: The Courage to Survive, by Dennis Kucinich, p.212-214 Nov 1, 2007

RFK assassination persuaded him to fight to change the world

[In 1968], I was supposed to organize to help Robert Kennedy become President. He was going to end the war in Vietnam & put a stop to the wars in America’s cities by addressing social and economic problems. He wasn’t supposed to get shot.

Robert Kennedy’s assassination of left me fed up with politics and the whole rotten system. I said so to [my colleague], the Cleveland Plain Dealer political editor.

The editor answered me in his political column: “Lost Hope? He Had More Cause.” The message was that Kennedy believed in change through the system and that he had endured all kinds of tragedy to pursue such change. There was no reason to lose hope, my colleague wrote, because as bad as the system was, Kennedy still believed it could be changed.

I didn’t like the system. But could I change the system by staying outside of it? I knew I had to find that place inside of me which had the courage to go on whatever disappointment, whatever the odds, if I really wanted to change the world.

Source: The Courage to Survive, by Dennis Kucinich, p.297 Nov 1, 2007

This debate is total flop for ignoring practical aspirations

Why shouldn’t Democrats stand for universal, single-payer, not for profit with 46 million Americans uninsured and 50 million Americans under-insured? I want to tell you something. There’s got to be people watching this at home saying, “Hey, you haven’t talked about me losing my job because of NAFTA.” Well, I’ll cancel NAFTA & the WTO and have trade that’s based on workers’ rights--human rights and environmental quality principles. Somebody’s got to be saying, “Wait a minute. Who’s talking about whether I’m going to have health care?“ I’ve introduced the bill, H.R. 676. You have somebody worried about losing their home. We need to cancel Bush’s tax cuts and flip them so we give the benefit to the 80%, while currently it’s going to the top 1%, so people will have more money so they can save their homes. We have to talk about people’s practical aspirations here. If we don’t do that tonight, this debate is a total flop.
Source: 2007 Democratic debate at Drexel University Oct 30, 2007

Sighted a UFO in Washington State

Q: The godmother of your daughter, Shirley MacLaine, writes in her new book that you’ve cited a UFO over her home in Washington state, that you found the encounter extremely moving, that it was a triangular craft silent and hovering, that you felt a connection to your heart and heard direction in your mind. Now, did you see a UFO?

A: I did. It was unidentified flying object, okay, it’s unidentified. I saw something. Now, to answer your question, I’m also going to move my campaign office to Roswell, New Mexico. You have to keep in mind that Jimmy Carter saw a UFO, and also that more people in this country have seen UFOs than, I think, approve of George Bush’s presidency.

Q: 14% of Americans say they have seen UFOs.

A: What was that percentage?

Q: Fourteen.

A: Thank you.

Source: 2007 Democratic debate at Drexel University Oct 30, 2007

Decisive moment: living as child out of family car

Q: What’s the decisive moment in your life that led you to seek the presidency?

A: I would say the decisive moment in my life was when my family was living in a car in the inner city and I thought about all the dreams that I could have as a child. And I decided, at an early age, that I was going to be someone. As president, the American people will have someone who remembers where he came from and has the compassion in his heart to lift up everyone to make sure everyone has a chance.

Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate on “This Week” Aug 19, 2007

Elected to Congress on 5th try; only on 2nd presidential run

I feel I need to point something out to [my supporters]: although I’m hopeful it’s not going to take that long, but I was elected to the Congress on my fifth try. If at first you don’t succeed -- it took me five times. So I’m working on the second time here.
Source: 2007 HRC/LOGO debate on gay issues Aug 9, 2007

I am in the center of American people’s hopes and dreams

I am the candidate right in the center of the aspirations of the American people’s hopes and dreams. I led the effort in the US House five years ago in challenging the administration’s march towards war against Iraq. The rest of the country’s come in my direction on that. I took the stand when it was really unpopular to do so.

When you’re talking about standing for people’s rights to be who they are without fear of being attacked for being gay, you’re talking about something that is really essentially American. And so I’m at the center of all of those discussions.

My candidacy for president is not only transforming the race, but it will transform this nation when you have a president who cannot be bought or bossed, who has the willingness to stand up and speak out when others would be silent, who can challenge war, who can challenge corruption. Because my heart is clean, because I have the ability to see and pierce that veil of falsehood which covers so much of our country today.

Source: 2007 HRC/LOGO debate on gay issues Aug 9, 2007

Biggest mistake was firing police chief on Good Friday

Q What is the most significant political or professional mistake you have made in the past four years? And what did you learn from this mistake which makes you a better candidate?

A: You know, I know you set a time frame on this, but the thing that immediately comes to mind is when I was mayor of Cleveland, on Good Friday, I fired the police chief live on the 6:00 news.

Source: 2007 South Carolina Democratic primary debate, on MSNBC Apr 26, 2007

I can move this country because I have no strings

Why is it that I’m able to do this? No strings! You need a president with no strings.
Source: 2007 AFSCME Democratic primary debate in Carson City Nevada Feb 21, 2007

Day 1: Pull out of Iraq, NAFTA, and the WTO

Q: After the inauguration, what would be your first action as president?

A: If the US occupation of Iraq has not ended, I will go to the UN for a resolution to bring our troops home in 90 days, putting the UN in control of the oil, the contracting, and the cause of Iraqi self-governance. If this has happened, my first action will be to repeal the NAFTA, withdraw from the WTO, and replace them with bilateral trade agreements based on workers’ rights, human rights, and environmental quality principles.

Source: Associated Press policy Q&A, “DAY 1” Jan 25, 2004

Endorsed by Natural Law Party’s 2000 presidential nominee

In this little pocket of Iowa, houses are built to face the rising sun, something called yogic flying is a popular pastime and Dennis Kucinich is a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. Kucinich has become a phenomenon in Fairfield, population 9,500.

Fairfield is not a typical Iowan town. The home of Maharishi University of Management and a center of the Global Country of World Peace, Fairfield and the surrounding area is home to 2,000 practitioners of Transcendental Meditation who began settling there in the early 1970’s. “The main appeal is that he has established himself vocally as a peace candidate,” said John Hagelin, a Fairfield resident and the founder of the New Age-oriented Natural Law Party, who himself has run for president several times. “This is a town dedicated to peace, to work for peace for the world and to radiate peace in the world.” Hagelin has endorsed Kucinich for President.

Source: [X-ref Hagelin] Jennifer 8. Lee, New York Times Jan 18, 2004

His campaign’s lack of media coverage becomes a media story

Q: How do you feel about the lack of media attention your campaign is generating?

A: The media is now covering the story of the media not covering our campaign so I think we are about to get a surge of coverage. Meanwhile, even with little media coverage, we have been able to organize a grass roots campaign in 50 states. Just think of how fast we will take off when the media realizes that our campaign is on the verge of becoming the surprise of the 2004 primary election season.

Source: Concord Monitor / WashingtonPost.com on-line Q&A Nov 4, 2003

Will run for House and President simultaneously

Q: Several Democratic candidates have abandoned their seats in the US Senate at a time when the party needs every seat it can get. If your presidential bid fails, will you run against Sen. George Voinovich?

A: Senator Lieberman ran for re-election to the Senate and for Vice President at the same time. Ohio law permits me to run for both the House of Representatives and President. I expect to take an oath of office at the Capitol in January of 2005.

Source: Concord Monitor / WashingtonPost.com on-line Q&A Nov 4, 2003

A Green Democrat, but will support Dem nominee over Green

Q: Assuming that you do not win the Democratic nomination for president, and given the similarity of your positions to those of the Green Party and Ralph Nader, would you support the Green Party’s presidential candidate or throw your weight towards a more conservative Democrat?

A: Ralph Nader and I have been friends for nearly thirty years. When I needed help saving Cleveland’s municipal electric system 25 years ago, Ralph came forward to help. He and I share many ideals and goals. I have a great deal of respect for the Greens and I consider myself a Green Democrat. However, I want to make the Democratic Party more relevant. That is why I am running as a Democrat. I believe my presence in the campaign is already moving the entire party in a more progressive direction. Just think how progressive it will become when I am the nominee and when I take the oath of office. I will certainly support the Democratic nominee. It should be easy because I expect to be the Democratic nominee.

Source: Concord Monitor / WashingtonPost.com on-line Q&A Nov 4, 2003

Favorite song: John Lennon, “Imagine”

Source: Congressional Black Caucus Institute debate Sep 9, 2003

Grew up poor, so is attuned to the concerns of the people

When I was growing up in Cleveland, the oldest of 7 children, my parents never owned a home. We lived in 21 different places by the time I was 17, including a couple cars, and sometimes we were the only Caucasian family in neighborhoods of color. And because of that experience in growing up in the inner city, I became attuned to the concerns that people have about jobs, about health care, about education, about housing.

And so, when I became mayor of Cleveland, I was determined to unite the community, to unite whites and blacks and all people of color, and to create conditions where we truly address the social and economic needs of the people.

Because of my life experience and because of my public life experience, I have the ability to lead this nation and to bring all people together and to lift up the cause of this nation so that we once again become a nation that comes from the heart and reconnect with our optimism to really create a nation that we can all be proud of.

Source: Congressional Black Caucus Institute debate Sep 9, 2003

Sacrificed political career to save city utility ownership

Kucinich was elected mayor on a promise that he would not sell off or privatize the beloved and trusted city-owned power system, though Cleveland was deeply in debt. By holding to his campaign promise and putting principle above politics, he lost his re-election bid and his political career was derailed. But today Kucinich stands vindicated for having confronted the Enron of his day, and for saving the municipal power company.
Source: Campaign website, www.Kucinich.us, “On The Issues” Aug 1, 2003

Broccoli would be welcomed in first vegetarian White House

Q: Would you be the first vegetarian president?

A: I don’t know. I should research that, but maybe.

Q: Former President Bush opposed broccoli.

A: Broccoli would be welcomed in my White House, and vegetarians would be welcomed in my White House.

Source: Interview on WBUR (Boston NPR) 90.9 FM May 14, 2003

Grass-roots campaign to take back America for the people

I’ve been a councilman, a mayor, a state senator and now a congressman. I offer a different vision for America. one which separates me from the other candidates. I’m the only candidate for president who will take this country away from fear, from war, and tax giveaways, and use America’s peace dividend for guaranteed health care for all. Take the profit out of health care. I’m the only one who will stop privatization of Social Security and bring the retirement age back to age 65.

As president, I will cancel NAFTA and WTO. I’ll restore our manufacturing jobs. Save our family farms. Create full employment programs, create new jobs by rebuilding our cities and schools. As president, I will repeal the PATRIOT Act, to regain for all Americans the sacred right of privacy in our homes, our libraries, our schools.

This is a grass-roots campaign to take back America for the people. Join me, for your cities, your towns, your farms, and your campuses. Join me, and let’s take back America.

Source: Democratic Debate in Columbia SC May 3, 2003

Declaration of human economic rights of the American people

Just as FDR proclaimed the Four Freedoms, it is time for us to reclaim our freedoms and mission as the party of the people, with a declaration of the human economic rights of the American people.In the months ahead, I will travel the nation with this message. I will ask for your support and, if I am the nominee of this party, together we will ead this party to victory, this nation to greatness, this world to peace.
Source: Speech to the DNC, in Prayer for America, p.137 Feb 22, 2003

Long list of legislative priorities in Congress

CONGRESS MUST: Protect Social Security. Preserve full Medicare and Medicaid benefits. Keep pension funds from being raided. Ensure economic security by building a high-skill, high-wage economy. Protect rights of workers to organize, to strike, to have a safe workplace. Provide more funds for education at all levels. Enact stiffer penalties for criminal use of guns. Protect our air, water and land. Provide competition between utility companies. Secure our country with a more efficient military defense.
Source: 1996 Congressional National Political Awareness Test Jul 2, 1996

Religious affiliation: Catholic.

Kucinich : religious affiliation:

The Adherents.com website is an independent project and is not supported by or affiliated with any organization (academic, religious, or otherwise).

What’s an adherent?

The most common definition used in broad compilations of statistical data is somebody who claims to belong to or worship in a religion. This is the self-identification method of determining who is an adherent of what religion, and it is the method used in most national surveys and polls.

Such factors as religious service attendance, belief, practice, familiarity with doctrine, belief in certain creeds, etc., may be important to sociologists, religious leaders, and others. But these are measures of religiosity and are usually not used academically to define a person’s membership in a particular religion. It is important to recognize there are various levels of adherence, or membership within religious traditions or religious bodies. There’s no single definition, and sources of adherent statistics do not always make it clear what definition they are using.

Source: Adherents.com web site 00-ADH11 on Nov 7, 2000

Member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Kucinich is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus:

The members of the Progressive Caucus share a common belief in the principles of social and economic justice, non-discrimination, and tolerance in America and in our relationships with other countries. We also seek to embody and give voice to national priorities which reflect the interests and needs of all the American people, not just the wealthy and the powerful. Our purpose is to present thoughtful, positive, practical solutions to the problems confronting America and the world. In the post-Cold War era, we believe our nation’s priorities must change with the times and reflect new realities. Accordingly, we support curbs on wasteful, inefficient government spending at the Pentagon and elsewhere, a more progressive tax system in which wealthier taxpayers and corporations pay their fair share, adequate funding for social programs that are designed to extend help to low and middle-income Americans in need, and trade policies that increase the exports of more American products and encourage the creation of jobs and investment in America.

Source: Congressional Progressive Caucus website 01-CPC0 on Oct 9, 2001

Rated 92% by the AU, indicating support of church-state separation.

Kucinich scores 92% by the AU on church-state separation

OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2006 AU scores as follows:

About the AU (from their website, www.au.org):

Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom. AU is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to preserving the constitutional principle of church-state separation as the only way to ensure religious freedom for all Americans.

Americans United is a national organization with members in all 50 states. We are headquartered in Washington, D.C., and led by the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director. AU has more than 75,000 members from all over the country. They include people from all walks of life and from various faith communities, as well as those who profess no particular faith. We are funded by donations from our members and others who support church-state separation. We do not seek, nor would we accept, government funding.

Source: AU website 06n-AU on Dec 31, 2006

Member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Kucinich is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus:

The members of the Progressive Caucus share a common belief in the principles of social and economic justice, non-discrimination, and tolerance in America and in our relationships with other countries. We also seek to embody and give voice to national priorities which reflect the interests and needs of all the American people, not just the wealthy and the powerful. Our purpose is to present thoughtful, positive, practical solutions to the problems confronting America and the world. In the post-Cold War era, we believe our nation’s priorities must change with the times and reflect new realities. Accordingly, we support curbs on wasteful, inefficient government spending at the Pentagon and elsewhere, a more progressive tax system in which wealthier taxpayers and corporations pay their fair share, adequate funding for social programs that are designed to extend help to low and middle-income Americans in need, and trade policies that increase the exports of more American products and encourage the creation of jobs and investment in America.

Source: Congressional Progressive Caucus website 07-CPC0 on Nov 6, 2007

Other candidates on Principles & Values: Dennis Kucinich on other issues:
Nominees:
GOP: Sen.John McCain
GOP V.P.: Gov.Sarah Palin
Democrat: Sen.Barack Obama
Dem.V.P.: Sen.Joe Biden

Third Parties:
Constitution: Chuck Baldwin
Libertarian: Rep.Bob Barr
Constitution: Amb.Alan Keyes
Liberation: Gloria La Riva
Green: Rep.Cynthia McKinney
Socialist: Brian Moore
Independent: Ralph Nader
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Page last updated: Feb 08, 2010