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Youngstown sees Kerry promise return of jobs
by Corey Ballantyne Tuesday, Apr. 27, 2004 at 12:16 PM
c_ballantyne_professional@hotmail.com

John Kerry's "Jobs First Express" comes to downtown Youngstown. Union members, students, and others listen to his promise of a manufacturing revival.

Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry addressed an audience in downtown Youngstown, OH, today focusing heavily on job growth. The phrase, “Jobs, jobs, jobs!” uttered by U.S. Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Ohio’s 11th congressional district was representative of the rally, which promoted jobs as America’s single most important need. The rally, according to a http://www.johnkerry.com press release, was part of a bus tour Kerry is taking through WV, PA, OH and MI, entitled the “Jobs First Express--On the Road to a Stronger Economy.”

Without discussing his economic plan in much detail, Kerry stated that he will give fewer tax breaks to the wealthy but more to businesses that provide manufacturing jobs in the U.S., with the aim of bringing more manufacturing jobs back into the country. Kerry also mentioned more briefly his concern for healthcare, education, and science.

Although attacks on Bush did not dominate the speech, Kerry decried the loss of jobs during the Bush administration. On Bush’s response to this job loss, Kerry said that when you are only digging yourself into a hole, “you STOP DIGGING.” Kerry cited some economic statistics and said, “This is not political rhetoric; this is the truth. And the truth is something this administration has a problem with. … This is the beginning of the end of the Bush administration.”

Before Kerry arrived, local Democratic politicians spoke including Tubbs Jones (http://www.house.gov/tubbsjones/), U.S. Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio’s 17th congressional district (http://www.house.gov/timryan), U.S. Senatorial candidate Eric Fingerhut (http://www.fingerhutforsenate.com), and U.S. Representative Ted Strickland of Ohio’s 6th congressional district (http://www.house.gov/strickland). They united in emphasizing the jobs issue.

The stage had been erected at Federal St. and Hazel St. Attendees entered the controlled rally area, the section of Federal St. from Phelps St. to Hazel St., by passing through metal detectors at Federal and Phelps Streets.

Labor unions and high school students were well represented in the crowd. Some spectators wore shirts which read, “YES! IUE-CWA GET THE POWER!” or USWA/United Steelworkers of America apparel. Some spectators held “Teamsters for Kerry” signs and “Steelworkers for Kerry” signs. AFSCME, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (http://www.afscme.org), distributed green T-shirts to its members. Maggie Schumaker, who said that she works for AFSCME, explained that she attended the rally because, “We need to change what’s in the White House. He needs to go.”

Teacher Dave Patton of South Range High School in North Lima, OH, estimated that there were “probably 55” students from that school. Some had obtained their tickets from him. Students from Labrae, Girard, and Fitch High Schools (in Leavittsburg, Girard, and Austintown, OH) also attended. Some students excitedly sought to procure their favorites of the pro-Kerry signs that were being distributed.

Close-up standing areas were reserved for persons with certain colored tickets, although all admissions were free. “They’re probably special or something,” said a high school student of the yellow ticket holders who stood on stage behind Kerry’s spot. Most unions, high schools, and campaign volunteers had had access to blue tickets, getting a better view than the general public. The rally ended with Kerry signing autographs across the fence on his way back to the bus.

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