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Opednews Exclusive: The Kucinich Vision: From Cleveland to the Future of America

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Rep. Dennis Kucinich by Dennis Kucinich

Dennis Kucinich has just stepped away from 16 years of Congressional service to the people of Ohio, and of America. But don't make the mistake of thinking he's stepped down.

His Kucinich Action PAC is an organization dedicated to empowering individuals to engage with the political process, in which "we endeavor to build a powerful grassroots movement to return the power to the people in our political system."

I first heard about Dennis Kucinich in June 2002, when my daughter called me from Dubrovnik, Croatia, where she was attending an international peace conference.

"Mom!" she said excitedly, "You are not going to believe what I just found ... an American politician with a SOUL!"

"He is a Congressman from Ohio, and he gave an awesome speech at the conference! AWESOME! You'd love him! Kucinich, Mom. K-U-C-I-N-I-C-H. From Ohio. Look him up, Mom. I gotta go ..."

A year later I sat front row, center, at my first opportunity to hear the Congressman, live. Like the architect of an ideal nation, he painted a verbal image of an amazing America that seemed to spring exuberantly from the original dreams of our founding fathers and mothers. Kucinich called on us to "remake America by reconnecting with a higher purpose to bring peace within and without, to come into harmony with nature, to confirm and to secure the basic rights of our brothers and sisters."

Rep. Dennis Kucinich by Dennis Kucinich
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Kucinich understands the American Dream, and knows how to ignite it in the hearts and minds of yearning citizens.

In a related Opednews article, Ruth Hull calls him "perhaps the most charismatic speaker in politics, contrary to the 'unelectable' lies that only people who haven't seen him speak, believe," and I agree. She notes, "I've personally seen Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and most other prominent leaders and Democratic candidates speak and none of them gets as many standing ovations as Kucinich.  There is almost no point is sitting during one of his speeches, as you will be back on your feet applauding a minute or two later."

Rep. Dennis Kucinich by Dennis Kucinich

In 1977, at 31, Kucinich was elected mayor of Cleveland, the nation's youngest mayor of a major city. He won the election based on his campaign promises to save the city-owned power company, Municipal Light from private hands. In response to an attempted, Enron-like takeover of "Muny" Light, Kucinich stood his moral ground.

The banks' holdings were genteelly characterized as being "interwoven" with the privately-owned competitor that wanted to create a monopoly. So, in retaliation of Kucinich's protection of the public interest, the banks made an unprecedented move, and drove the city into default over their loans. It was the first time since the Great Depression that a major American city had been brought to its knees by the banks.
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A youthful profile in courage, Kucinich held fast to his campaign promise. The corporate fear machine spread lies, panic and distrust. He didn't budge.

He won that round, but as a result his political career slipped into a black hole for 15 years.

Few things are more discouraging than being tarred and feathered by the very people for whom you have given up everything to protect.  But vindication finally came in 1993, when then-Cleveland Mayor Michael White recognized Kucinich for saving the residents of Cleveland hundreds of millions of dollars. After Dennis' deft rescue, the utility had thrived, just as he'd expected.

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Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing since she was a hippie. She began writing for OpEdNews in Feb, 2004. She became a Senior Editor in August 2012 and Managing Editor in January, (more...)

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Awesome article, Meryl Ann! There is SO much to sa... by Robin Rae Swanson on Monday, Jan 7, 2013 at 3:44:46 AM
 When Dennis said it, I had the feeling that ... by Meryl Ann Butler on Monday, Jan 7, 2013 at 10:25:49 AM
Great article.... by Don Caldarazzo on Monday, Jan 7, 2013 at 4:39:08 AM
Glad you liked it!  ;-)... by Meryl Ann Butler on Monday, Jan 7, 2013 at 10:26:12 AM
Almost a lone voice in the halls of congress, but ... by Lance Ciepiela on Monday, Jan 7, 2013 at 8:52:58 AM
...we are lucky to have this guy.... by Meryl Ann Butler on Monday, Jan 7, 2013 at 10:27:35 AM
Curing the {political, et al} addiction. &nb... by Ned Lud on Monday, Jan 7, 2013 at 9:10:20 AM
Kucinich hasn't given any other interviews yet on ... by Meryl Ann Butler on Monday, Jan 7, 2013 at 10:32:12 AM
We call him Dennis in Cleveland.Search under Denni... by Ray Tapajna on Monday, Jan 7, 2013 at 11:41:20 AM
but it is beginning to look like being a politicia... by Meryl Ann Butler on Monday, Jan 7, 2013 at 3:15:08 PM
I admire Dennis kucinich, and he married a brillia... by Neo Conned on Monday, Jan 7, 2013 at 2:28:23 PM
but a new door has flung itself open for Dennis, a... by Meryl Ann Butler on Monday, Jan 7, 2013 at 3:12:27 PM
Dennis is a great man. I am sorry to see him leavi... by Ken Stevens on Monday, Jan 7, 2013 at 4:21:48 PM
I agree! And hope that now he will be freer to do ... by Meryl Ann Butler on Monday, Jan 7, 2013 at 5:45:23 PM
Congrats on the interview! I lived in Clevela... by Amy Fried, Ph.D. on Monday, Jan 7, 2013 at 4:35:06 PM
He is the sole reason I rekindled any interest in ... by Meryl Ann Butler on Monday, Jan 7, 2013 at 5:44:09 PM
well done... by Joan Brunwasser on Monday, Jan 7, 2013 at 7:42:37 PM
you are my interview heroine, so that means a lot!... by Meryl Ann Butler on Monday, Jan 7, 2013 at 9:18:18 PM
Dennis is indeed a hero and now, as he faces a new... by Rob Kall on Tuesday, Jan 8, 2013 at 10:49:26 AM
I'm eager to see how his journey transpires ... an... by Meryl Ann Butler on Tuesday, Jan 8, 2013 at 11:17:53 AM
President Obama could have given America real ch... by Spider53 on Tuesday, Jan 8, 2013 at 5:05:36 PM
to have Dennis as Secretary of State!... by Meryl Ann Butler on Tuesday, Jan 8, 2013 at 5:22:01 PM