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POLITICAL HEROES:

OHIO CONGRESSMAN DENNIS KUCINICH

Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich

I have a soft spot in my heart for those who stand up for what is right even when it is unpopular. When they are later proven correct, the story only becomes more inspiring. I had heard positive things about Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich for months before he decided to run for president in 2004. When I heard Congressman Kucinich was going to begin the process of running, I read up on his history. What I read was truly inspiring.

Dennis J. Kucinich is a grassroots politician who has been active since he was very young, serving on the Cleveland city council at just 23. After becoming the mayor of Cleveland at 31 - an accomplishment that earned him the moniker "The Boy Mayor" - Kucinich was pressured by banks to sell off the municipal electric system in order to receive extended credit to the city in the midst of an ailing budget. Despite all of the pressure, Kucinich refused to sell out the public of Cleveland and hand over the utilities to big business for short-term gain. The city's budget did hurt for a while, and Kucinich lost his re-election bid because of it. Yet all these years later, because of what this man did, Cleveland's citizens still maintain control over their own utilities.
Kucinich, after some time out of politics made a comeback. His campaign slogan in the 1994 state Senate bid that relaunched his political career? A light bulb with the words "Because he was right". And the slogan that sent him to Washington two years later? "Light up Congress".

In May, 1996, Cleveland Magazine wrote that "There is little debate over the value of Muny Light today. Now Cleveland Public Power, it is a proven asset to the city that between 1985 and 1995 saved its customers $195,148,520 over what they would have paid CEI." In 1998, the Cleveland City Council issued a commendation to Dennis Kucinich for "having the courage and foresight to refuse to sell the city's municipal electric system." It had taken nearly 20 years and taken a great toll on his career, but Kucinich, finally, was vindicated.

In 1996, Kucinich was elected to represent Ohio's 10th District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He has held that position since. There, he has been a strong, and often lonely, voice for the importance of sustainable, equitable and fair policies in America. He has also been a very courageous and vocal critic of the Bush administration and particularly the war in Iraq. His longshot bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004 gave Kucinich a platform from which to speak widely about issues such as peace and human rights that received far too little attention from other candidates.

Among the 2008 Democratic presidential candidates, Kucinich is the only one who voted against the original authorization of the war in Iraq, as well as voting 100% against funding of the war. As you can imagine, at points, he received a great deal of criticism, especially early on when any opposition to the war was considered unpatriotic. Given the turn of events in Iraq, it looks like Dennis Kucinich has been vindicated yet again.

Other Resources Related to Congressman Dennis Kucinich



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