This year marks Dennis Kucinich’s 40th year of involvement in civic life. He has served as a member of the Cleveland City Council, as Clerk of the Cleveland Municipal Courts, as Mayor of the City of Cleveland, as Ohio State Senator and is now in his 6th term as United States Congressman. In two presidential campaigns, he successfully kept progressive issues in the limelight.
Kucinich’s voice in the Democratic presidential debates was effectively silenced by mega-corporations, many with links to the industrial war machine. Highly questionable and possibly illegal methods were used to exclude his message from several debates, resulting in his forced absence from the presidential race.
Now his Congressional re-election bid is being similarly attacked. The intensity is increasing as the March 4th primary gets closer.
One of opponent, Joe Cimperman’s, television ads states, “on (Kucinich’s) watch we’ve lost 38,000 jobs”, cleverly inferring that it was the Congressman’s fault.
Kucinich responds, “the downtown Cleveland business establishments is paying hundreds of thousands of dollars, perhaps even a million dollars or more, to attack me in a way that is unprincipaled … I’ve been the national spokesperson challenging NAFTA. I brought it up in all of the debates. I’ve been able to point out that we have lost millions of jobs in America because of NAFTA. Of course, in Cleveland, in a period of about 10 years, we’ve lost 38,000 jobs or more. And so, one of the TV ads attacking me—ads that are paid for by the Cleveland corporate establishment—blames me for the losses of the 38,000 jobs that are attributed to NAFTA. This is a ‘swiftboat’ type attack.”
Union leader, Harriet Applegate, says Kucinich “saved our steel industry,” and that “everyone knows that Cleveland has lost thousands of jobs because of NAFTA. Now Joe Cimperman wants to blame Congressman Kucinich. Nothing could be further from the truth. Dennis Kucinich has worked tirelessly for working people and that is why labor supports him. He is the strongest opponent of NAFTA in Congress.”
In fact, Kucinich directly saved 1560 jobs, created 3700 supporting jobs, and had an economic effect of $400 million annually, according to his campaign.