Presidential Campaign and Candidates

 

Dick Gephardt for President 2004 Campaign Brochure

Dick Gephardt for President 2004 Campaign Brochure

‘New Ideas from Common Ideals’

 

New Ideas from Common Ideals   

We must build a platform of new ideas based upon our common ideals

From the White House to Capitol Hill to the Supreme Court, the rightward drift of our nation's politics must be reversed.

By staying true to Democratic principles and by building a platform of new ideas based upon our common ideals, we can change the balance of power in Washington and the course of the country for generations to come.

With your help, we will wage a winning campaign that will lead to a safer, more secure, and more prosperous future for all Americans. These are some of the ideas and ideals I will fight for as President of the United States. 

 

Moving Our Economy Forward   

After record growth in the 1990s, President Bush has put our economy back in the doldrums where his father had it when he left office. Unemployment is at its highest level in nine years. Retirement savings are down nearly 40 percent. Bankruptcies are up. Two years ago, this President was handed a strong economy built by the courageous votes of Democrats and the hard work of the American people.

President Bush has put our economy back in the doldrums — where his father had it when he left office

In 1993, Democrats passed a budget that ushered in our nation's longest period of growth and prosperity. That economic plan passed without a single Republican vote because it asked the wealthy to pay their fair share to turn a Republican recession into record prosperity. But now, after two short years of George W. Bush, we're experiencing the weakest economy in 50 years.

Throughout my years in Congress, I've worked hard to ensure that Democratic principles were at the heart of the policies we fought for on the floor of the House of Representatives. Those same values must now be revitalized and applied to the critical challenges facing our nation.

 

The cornerstone of my campaign: Health insurance for all Americans 

The cornerstone of my campaign will be the idea that all Americans should have health insurance. Health insurance and the security that comes with it means more to most Americans than a tax cut — especially when the tax cut goes largely to the people who need it the least.

Providing health care for the uninsured is one of the surest stimulus measures we could give our economy. It provides financial relief to businesses that are struggling to provide it for their employees. It enhances labor mobility and would pump more money into one of the economy's biggest sectors: health care. 

Providing Health Care for All Americans  

America has the most technologically advanced health care system in the world, but we have fallen behind the rest of the industrial world when it comes to providing access to quality health care for all our citizens.

Most uninsured Americans are full-time, year-round workers or their dependents

There are currently 41.2 million uninsured in the United States, and 55 percent of them are full-time, year-round workers or their dependents. In 2001, the availability of job-related health insurance fell to 68 percent.

Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) do provide health care coverage to poor Americans under 65, yet Americans under 65 still represent 25 percent of the uninsured population.

Our goal must be to provide every American with quality health care coverage.

We must make coverage more affordable for employers and employees alike  enlarge photo

First, everyone who works should receive coverage through their employers. My plan will phase in a new, targeted and refundable tax credit for employers to expand their health insurance to cover all of their employees.

My tax credit will replace the existing employer tax deduction with a tax credit, increasing the value of the current deduction and making coverage more affordable for employers and employees alike. The tax credit will provide stability for the insured and will cover the vast majority of uninsured employees.

We must provide every American with quality health care coverage 

The tax credit is a simple, workable proposal that will increase access by utilizing the existing system of health insurance financing. It will create no new bureaucracy, and it will not place any additional burdens on employers or employees. My plan also will stimulate the economy, contributing to economic growth through job creation in the health care industry and greater productivity among insured workers.

Second, my plan will also expand access to health care through existing federal programs to include a Medicare buy-in for uninsured Americans between the ages of 55 and 64, it will extend SCHIP coverage to the parents of children already covered by the program, and it will provide a federal contribution to COBRA coverage for the eligible unemployed.

 

Improving Our Schools for a Lifetime of Learning   

Early education has been proven to make the critical difference in preparing our children for a lifetime of learning. My hope is that we can expand preschool to every public school in America.

I will propose expanding preschool to every public school in America 

I'm proposing that the federal government work with local school districts to establish public preschool through public/private partnerships. An early start to education is crucial to creating a well-educated and well-trained work force.

We also should ensure that we have enough teachers by creating a Teacher Corps modeled after the ROTC. I will propose launching a Teacher Corps, with the goal of recruiting two and a half million new teachers by the end of the decade.

I will propose launching a Teacher Corps, with the goal of recruiting two and a half million new teachers  enlarge photo

Participants in the Corps would receive scholarship assistance to become teachers in return for a commitment to teach for five years and be held to high standards of performance.

In addition, we should increase the federal government's investment in after-school programs. After-school programs recognize the changing nature of the family, and the need for additional education structure and adult supervision for students at the end of the school day.

 

 

Fighting for Our Environment:  Smart Energy   

I want to create incentives to shift auto production in this country to hydrogen fuel cell-powered cars 

We must reduce our dependence on foreign oil, which for too long has compromised our foreign policy and done great harm to our environment.

As President, I intend to launch an "Apollo Project" to develop environmentally smart, renewable energy solutions to make our nation energy independent by the end of the decade.

I want to create incentives to shift auto production in this country from gasoline-powered cars to those powered by hydrogen fuel cells. Within ten years, our dependence on foreign oil would drop by 50 percent and our environment would be dramatically cleaner.

 

Protecting Civil Rights for All   

Gephardt passes the torch to a young runner in the cross-country torch relay marking the 10th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act  enlarge photo

America has made significant progress in protecting the civil rights of individuals, but there is still progress to be made to end discrimination and ensure the fair and equal treatment of everyone regardless of race, gender, religion, national origin or sexual orientation.

I firmly believe that a commitment to public service must go hand-in-hand with a commitment to equality and equal opportunity.

My focus will always be on realizing our nation's promise of equal justice for all.

To accomplish that imperative, I will continue to lead the fight to: 

Support affirmative action and defeat efforts to end federal affirmative action programs

Make equal pay for equal work a fundamental platform

End discrimination in the workplace against gays and lesbians

Expand federal jurisdiction over intolerable crimes of hate

Make our immigration system fair and protect the rights of immigrants by legalizing hard-working, tax-paying immigrants who have made significant contributions to our economic prosperity

Protect the voting rights of all our citizens through strong election reform legislation

Guarantee fairness and equality for girls and women in education through Title IX

Demand that the census use statistical sampling to ensure than every American is counted

The fight for equality and fairness is about making America what it should be – a land of opportunity for all. 

 

Establishing an International Minimum Wage   

An International Minimum Wage would keep U.S. workers competitive in the global marketplace 

Based on the imperative of protecting both human dignity around the world and American jobs here at home, I think we should establish an international minimum wage. The World Trade Organization should establish an international standard for a minimum wage.

The creation of such a wage would guarantee that workers all over the world earn a livable wage. It also would keep U.S. workers competitive in the global marketplace. Countries could offset lower wages with trade concessions, and more developed nations would share in the burden facing less developed nations.

 

Securing Americans' Retirement   

We must make Social Security stronger not weaker in the decades ahead 

Hard work over a lifetime should be rewarded with safety and security in your retirement years. We must protect the pensions and retirement savings of all Americans with a universal pension system that creates a pension account for every American at birth, an account that earns tax-deferred interest and follows them as they move from job to job throughout their working life.

I also believe we must make sensible decisions that invest in Social Security and make it stronger, not weaker, in the decades ahead. Our responsibility calls for ensuring that our children and grandchildren will reap the rewards of Social Security.

 

A Man of Principle

Dick Gephardt grew up in the same working class neighborhood on the south side of St. Louis, Missouri, that he represents today in the U.S. Congress.

Gephardt's father, a milk truck driver and Teamster, taught him the value of hard work. His mother, a secretary, taught him an appreciation for the value of community and caring about the needs and aspirations of others. While his parents didn't finish high school, they instilled in him a lifelong desire to strive and succeed.

Gephardt was able to continue his education past high school with the help of a church scholarship and student loans. Shortly after Gephardt graduated from Northwestern University and the University of Michigan Law School, he began a career in public service as a grassroots organizer in St. Louis politics.

Elected Alderman in 1971, Gephardt learned firsthand how government policies could help or hinder the working families he represented. He saw how families, senior citizens, small business owners, and others yearned to have lawmakers who would listen to them, care about their circumstances, and commit to working on their behalf.

From the very beginning, Gephardt understood that Democrats could be counted on to give people a fair opportunity, to defend Social Security and Medicare, and to make sure that government worked for the many, instead of the few.

Now, after 26 years in the Congress, Gephardt is an accomplished lawmaker and leader in the Democratic Party. Passionately committed to raising the level of debate in American politics, Gephardt has forcefully spoken of the need to put aside the "politics of personal destruction" and instead focus on the issues central to America's future.

In 1989, Gephardt was elected to be the House Democratic Leader. Among his most notable accomplishments was House passage of President Clinton's economic plan to slash the deficit, invest in education, cut taxes for working families and ask the wealthy to pay their fair share.

As the Democratic leader, Gephardt steered this initiative to passage without a single Republican vote. The GOP asserted it was a job killer, but in fact this economic plan led to the single longest economic expansion in history, the highest home ownership ever, the lowest inflation in a generation and over 24 million new jobs.

Gephardt has also used his leadership role in the U.S. Congress to:  Raise the minimum wage, defeat Republican efforts to roll back affirmative action,  pass the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform legislation,  include labor and environmental standards in U.S. trade agreements, block White House efforts to roll back arsenic standards in drinking water, win passage of environmental legislation to clean up Brownfield sites, secure protections for family farms

A fiercely loyal Cardinals fan and Rams booster, Gephardt is an avid sports enthusiast. He has been married to Jane Gephardt for 36 years, and they are the parents of three children: Matt, a software developer; Chrissy, a social worker; and Kate, a teacher.

 

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