"Wing of the Democratic Party made up of workingmen and reformers, opposed to monopolies and financial policies that seemed to them antidemocratic and conducive to special privilege. The Locofocos received their name when party regulars turned off the gas lights to oust the radicals from a Tammany Hall nominating meeting. The radicals responded by lighting candles with new matches known as locofocos and nominated their own slate." (From: http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9048706 )

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Location: Springfield, Missouri, United States

I am husband and father in a family of four, wife Verna, son Thomas, and daughter Jennifer. We've lived in Springfield's 137th District for over ten years at 800 W Calhoun St, and love the Grant Beach area. I was born to a military family, my mother and father met at Ft Leonard Wood. I was born in Ft Hood Texas, and travelled throughout my childhood, with most of my time spent in any one place in the Rolla Mo area. When I completed my own four year hitch with the US Navy, I settled here in Missouri, living in Mt Vernon. I moved into Springfield in 1994 to attend (then) SMSU and stayed, finding our permanent home in the Grant Beach Park area.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

"The Leaders We Are Waiting For Are Us"

Senator John Edwards addressed a crowd at Juanita K. Hammons Hall Wednesday, April 19. He continued his theme of “Two Americas” expounded during the 2004 Presidential campaign, and called young people to action in saying “The leaders we are waiting for are us.”

Edwards pointed out the need both nationally and internationally for Americans to step up to the plate and lead on the issue of poverty. In the U.S. 37 million people live in poverty, while throughout the world, 3 billion people exist on $2 per day. Katrina exposed the vulnerability of the poor; most people who could not evacuate lacked the means to do so. In any adversity, “the poor always get hurt the worst, they live on the razor’s edge.” Edwards is hopeful though. “Americans have a hunger to be inspired.”

Edwards pointed out that the Katrina disaster brought out the best in Americans while the governments stumbled as an indicator of what can be accomplished with inspiration. He believes the American public wants a return to a sense of national community, and categorically rejects the notion that one’s success or failure is entirely the credit or blame of the individual. “I never could got there by myself, “ said Edwards.

Edwards put forward some ideas to address our national poverty problems. He pointed out that 50 million Americans work in the service sector of our economy with wide variances in pay from place to place. He used the hospitality industry as an example; those who can be a part of a union get living wages and benefits, while those who cannot earn $6 per hour without benefits. Edwards proposed a simple sign up process for individuals to join a union, instead of complicated processes used today. Edwards would also like to see a crackdown on predatory lending practices, raising the national minimum wage, matching funds for struggling families to build savings accounts, reform of the Earned Income Tax Credit and access to college for qualified students without burdening young people with student loan debt.

Senator Edwards said all these issues and more are part of a bigger issue. We got “lots of politicians, but few leaders’ and a “huge void in moral leadership.”

He closed with “The leaders we are waiting for are us.”


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