August 29, 2007
Americus -- Presidential Candidate John Edwards calls for social reform today at a campaign stop at Georgia Southwestern in Americus. Edwards talked about the lack of health care for some Americans, the plight of working Americans, and the need for minimum wage reform and global warming.
He made the stop in Americus at the request of President Jimmy Carter who joined him on the platform, and likely isn't the last candidate south Georgia will see.
After introductions, Edwards wasted little time in rolling out his agenda for social reform including a call for universal health care and an attack on poverty.
"What I think we need to do is knock down some of the barriers to people who are working for a living being able to support themselves, which means better wages, health care coverage, access to college. What we want to do is create opportunity for millions of Americans to help themselves, not to take care of them."
On the war in Iraq, Edwards was critical of the current administration and said without a promise for withdrawal, Congress should not approve another $50 billion requested by President Bush.
It's an issue that prompted a question from an Albany man with a son and daughter in law serving in Iraq.
"Would you be willing to propose a plan, instead of staying indefinitely or a cut and run and leaving Iraq in chaos, to phase in Arabic speaking Muslim peace keepers from our allies in the region?" asked James Finkelstein.
You cannot control the violence, unless and until there is some political reconciliation between the Shiites and Sunni," said Edwards. "They have to at some level make peace with each other because that in my judgement is the foundation for mush of the violence that's going on."
Edwards said if changes are going to be made in the fight on global warming and a minimum wage increases it starts with the people.
"The great change in America starts with you. The President of the United States cannot do these things alone your country need you," said Edwards.
What school aged students in attendance liked best was a promise that if they're willing to work 10 hours a week in high school under Edwards' College for Everyone program, books and tuition would be covered.
President Jimmy Carter and Georgia Southwestern State University are working with the campaigns of Senator Hillary Clinton and some Republican candidates who might consider a stop in Americus.