Who are you?
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: Who are you?
Dennis Kucinich: I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio the oldest of seven children, and my parents never owned a home. We were renters. By the time I was 17, we lived in 21 different places, including a couple of cars. That experience of growing up in the inner city, which I’ve outlined in a book that I’ve just released called “The Courage to Survive” is an experience that really had an indelible imprint upon the way I look at the world and upon my soul. Because it . . . it taught me compassion. What people go through to just try to make it day-to-day – the importance of a job, of healthcare, of being able to put food on the table and clothes on kids’ backs, the importance of education – these are all things that are a part of people’s practical aspirations. And having been riveted in that experience growing up in Cleveland, I understand as someone aspiring to be President of the United States how terribly important all these things are for . . . for people. So I’m . . . My worldview is truly shaped by that experience in growing up. Now I know the whole world didn’t live in conditions that were near poverty. I know that. But I also know that those who do don’t have many spokespersons in government.
Recorded on: 10/19/07
Sleeping in cars teaches you a thing or two about compassion, Dennis Kucinich says.
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