Kucinich addresses many issues at Reno rally
By James Ball (JBALL@RGJ.COM ), RENO GAZETTE-JOURNAL
Touching on issues ranging from Yucca Mountain to the Patriot Act and the war in Iraq, presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich spoke to a crowd of several hundred people in Reno Saturday.
Despite a steady snowfall outside, a standing-room-only crowd packed into two meeting rooms at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center to hear what the Ohio Congressman and Democrat had to say about issues he's most closely associated with: the environment and opposition to the war and the Bush administration in general. Those expecting Kucinich to deliver harsh words about the president weren't disappointed, as the half-hour campaign speech soon turned to talk of impeachment.
Kucinich said under the current administration, citizen's rights to due process and fair trial are in jeopardy.
"This is a moment when we're called upon to reclaim our country," he said. "You give me your vote, I'll give you back your country."
"Think about this. The government has an engine of sustainability so that the Department of Transportation focuses on developing mass transit solutions. The Department of Housing and Urban Development develops green housing with natural light and passive solar. The Department of Energy incentivizes the production of wind and solar and green energy," he told the crowd.
But most of those on hand weren't there to hear about global warming.
Bill Cantella of Reno made his way throughout the crowd, handing out Kucinich pamphlets and stickers simply reading "Impeach," while others wore shirts and held banners bearing the same sentiment.
Cantella said Kucinich's "everyman" appeal draws him to the candidate.
"The most appealing thing about him to me is that he's not connected with special interests, international corporations and he does not accept campaign contributions from corporations or PACs." Cantella said. "He's not connected to the military industrial complex, oil companies and health insurance companies that rule our lives."
He was quick, however, to point out that shunning such donations could, in fact, hurt Kucinich's chances in a race populated by high-profile candidates like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on the Democratic side.
"That's probably his biggest problem," Cantella said. "Because you have to have a lot of money to win the presidency of the United States. "
Kucinich's wife, Elizabeth, who was raised in England, spoke about the perception that her husband traditionally has been seen as a fringe, extremist candidate.