This event summary was submitted by Joe Briggs. Briggs is the Briggs is the host of PolicyWatch an issue based policy program that airs on channel23 in Manchester, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .
NM Governor and democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson spoke today to a public gathering at Manchester law firm Devine Millimet. Richardson, who was the Clinton administration's 'goto' man for diplomatic solutions to sensitive international situations such as North Korean nuclear ambitions and Saddam Hussein's taking of hostages, is generally regarded as the 'resume' candidate for the 2008 presidential race. He served as congressman from New Mexico, Energy Secretary, and US Ambassador to the United Nations. While his past experience implementing the foreign policies of others has gained him entrance into the race, he has yet to distinguish himself with his own policies, and did little today in his remarks to convince the crowd that we are facing urgent problems, what those problems are, and what exactly he would do to solve them.
When asked if he accepted 'Sicko' filmmaker Michael Moore's commitment to support free, single payer healthcare (HR676) and refuse campaign financing from forprofit healthcare interests, he said 'no' on both. Instead he favors offering the same heath plan that Congress has for purchase by anyone. He wants Medicare eligibility lowered to age 55, and wants states to handle the healthcare needs of Low income families and children.
When asked about carbon reduction, he stated that he supported a 90% reduction by 2020 via carbon credits, but made no mention about the role of nuclear power to replace the highCO2 producing coal plants that currently supply 50% of our current electrical generation. He looks to wind, solar, and innovation to achieve greater energy independence.
He said that as president he would seek a balanced budget amendment, yet he would take the $100B+ annual budget currently spent on Iraq and move it to the general budget for domestic spending. He favors national service as a way to pay for an enhanced student loan program.
Regarding the war in Iraq, the Governor says we should pull out immediately and work toward an all-Muslim regional force supplied by Turkey, Iran, Egypt, and others, to provide peacekeeping roles. He further stated that he would use diplomacy to a much higher level than the current administration, and would engage Syria, Iran, and North Korea directly.
The event was cosponsored by the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, and was the first in a series to include all candidates.