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Heinz-Kerry visits Tucson

CHRIS CODUTO/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Teresa Heinz-Kerry, wife of presidential candidate John Kerry, speaks at the Tucson Convention Center yesterday evening. The Tucson fire marshall estimated the crowd at 2,500.
By Holly Wells
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, October 8, 2004
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Teresa Heinz-Kerry, wife of Senator and Presidential Candidate John Kerry, spoke about health care, education and the war in Iraq to a group of 2,500 people last night at the Tucson Convention Center.

Heinz-Kerry urged women to vote.

She said women have a right to be heard and have the experience and knowledge to contribute to the country.

"Women's wisdom is sorely, sorely missing in the deliberation of this nation's policies," she said.

Heinz-Kerry, who spoke with a white University of Arizona baseball cap on the podium, came out to the chant of "Next first lady." Before she had a chance to speak, the crowd sang "Happy Birthday" to her. She turned 66 last Tuesday.

Referring to the current government, Heinz-Kerry said it was time to do some housecleaning, which caused a group of protesters to begin chanting "Four more years."

Heinz-Kerry and the crowd responded with "Four more weeks."

Heinz-Kerry, who has described herself as plain-spoken, told the protesters she respected their opinion, but said they must have manners.

"I will always fight for your right to speak, but don't disturb," she said.

Audience members said the protesters were soon pushed out the door.

Heinz-Kerry said every American wants security and said security means many things, including protecting against terrorism.

Heinz-Kerry said terrorism is real, but containable through smart diplomacy and the best intelligence in the world.

She suggested that a false sense of security has existed under the Bush administration, and that the Bush administration has not done everything it could to protect Americans from terrorists.

Heinz-Kerry echoed her husband's statements in last week's presidential debate by saying the current administration mistakenly took the focus off of Osama bin Laden and put it on Iraq.

She said the American people were misled when President Bush went into Iraq.

She also said that Congress was misled and had not been given all of the information before making the decision to go to war.

"There are now 43 countries with nuclear capability, according to this president. Are we going to attack them all?" she said.

War should always be a last resort, she said, and Americans should not be sent in harm's way unless it is absolutely necessary.

Heinz-Kerry said that if her husband John Kerry is elected president, he would go to the United Nations and "show the world the face of America that is strong, but not threatening; that is compassionate, but not condescending; that is proud, but not arrogant."

Joanna Nelson, a sociology senior who was at the rally, said she thinks John Kerry has more humanitarian interests, while Bush seems to only be concerned with war and money.

"What (Kerry) is offering is what the country is asking for," Nelson said.

Nelson said she thinks college students will vote for Kerry because of this.

Nelson said she thinks the increased number of students registered this year could cause Arizona's electoral votes to go to John Kerry.

Heinz-Kerry also spoke of education concerns.

Alicia Cybulski, political science senior and president of the UA Young Democrats, said students should vote for Kerry because of his education plan and because he knows how to compromise and form alliances.

Heinz-Kerry criticized Bush's No Child Left Behind Act, saying it was improperly funded.

Heinz-Kerry said her husband is committed to education and has plans to start at the early education levels.

"The best investment a nation makes is the little kids. It pays and pays and pays and pays," she said.

Heinz-Kerry said John Kerry would offer a $4,000 tax credit for young adults and parents who pay for college education.

She said there would also be a program in which a young high school graduate could commit to doing community service for two years and in return would get four free years of college education.

Heinz-Kerry said by doing this, young adults could learn what they are made of, learn the impact they have, and experience the joy that comes from volunteering. Heinz-Kerry said John Kerry would focus on wellness and prevention in his health care plan. She said this would save on health care costs down the road.

"Under John Kerry every single child will have health care from day one," she said.

Heinz-Kerry said her husband's plans for health care, education and other policies are not "pie in the sky," but are very planned out and responsible.

Cybulski said she thought the rally was very successful. She said she's proud protestors can go into rallies as long as they're respectful and don't have to sign a loyalty pledge as some Bush rallies have made attendees do.

Cybulski said she thinks Kerry will take Arizona because so far it has been a successful campaign.

"He has the right ideas for the right time," she said.

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