Dennis Kucinich is a Democratic congressman and presidential also-ran. Kucinich graduated from Case Western Reserve University in 1973 with a BA and an MA in speech and communication. He began his political career early: he was elected to the Cleveland City Council at 23, and became mayor in 1977 at the age of 31. After spending much of the 1980's out of government, Kucinich was elected to Congress in 1996; he is currently in his sixth term. In Congress, Kucinich has a staunchly liberal and anti-war record. He is a strong advocate of national health care, clean energy, and an immediate withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. Kucinich even brought articles of impeachment against Vice-President Dick Cheney, though the bill was killed before it could reach the House floor. Kucinich first ran for president in 2004; he ran again in 2008. In 2003, he received the Gandhi Peace Award, bestowed by the Quaker organization Promoting Enduring Peace. Kucinich is the author of a memoir, The Courage to Survive, as well as a collection of speeches, A Prayer for America.
Question: How will you ensure that our students can compete in a global economy?
Dennis Kucinich: Education is in and of itself a personal benefit – a personal right, actually, that people have in a democratic society. And so before we get into a discussion of benefits, let’s talk about education as a right. Each person in a democratic society has a right from the earliest age – let’s say age three – all the way through and including college to have a fully funded, paid education. This should be one of the foundational purposes of government. Now when a child has the chance from the earliest age to learn languages, to learn English, communication skills, they then become able to participate in a community. And as young people grow, that community keeps expanding from this . . . from the village, to the city, to the world. We need to have our young people the best educated in science, in language, in the arts, in music, in literature, technology. I mean there’s so many different areas of human endeavor that our children should have the chance to excel in. But you know what? Check out the cost of tuition in Iowa, my friends. Ask yourself how many families are being excluded from having their young people being able to go to school because they just can’t afford it. And then let’s talk about the world economy.
Recorded on: 10/19/07