Lieberman focuses on family values, returning prosperity to Americans
By Lloyd Jones, The Conway Daily Sun

CONWAY "Joe's Jobs Tour" made a stop at Mount Washington Valley Economic Council's business incubator Tuesday afternoon and Sen. Joe Lieberman, one of nine Democratic presidential hopefuls, promised to do all he could for the working men and women of America.

Lieberman, on a three-day campaign vacation while staying in Wolfeboro, said his strategy for a run at the White House is to follow Bill Clinton.
"I'm following in the path of Bill Clinton in 1992 and how the Democratic Party needed to reconnect with family values," Lieberman said in brief press conference following a 30-minute discussion about his "Joe's Jobs Tour" initiative. "I am an independent-minded Democrat and I'm going to do what I believe is best for my country."

Unlike other candidates who have stumped in the North Country this summer,Lieberman's prime concern was not health care but restoring a healthy economy. During Tuesday's visit, he and Hadassah, his wife, toured the business incubator from top to bottom; sat in on a 15-minute presentation by Lisa and Stephen Surette, owners of North Country Graphics; and held a roundtable discussion with Jac Cuddy, economic council executive director; Bob Murphy, economic council board member; Ginger Blymyer; Betsy Bungeroth, of School to Career; Mike Laracy, of Rapid Insights; Calvin Hunsicker, of Emerlyn Software; and Stephen Surette.

"All around the country factories are shutting their doors, taking jobs overseas, and leaving communities reeling in their wake," Lieberman said, explaining that the number of manufacturing jobs has dwindled by 2.4 million since George W. Bush took office. "Nearly 80 percent of the jobs lost during his administration have been manufacturing jobs. My manufacturing recovery plan will help transform today's producers into the factories of the future, make worker training more affordable and accessible, and level the global playing field by cracking down on unfair trade practices while continuing to open new markets."

The U.S. senator from Connecticut and 2000 Democratic Party vice presidential nominee was delighted to talk with the Surettes about their business. "I look forward to coming back and see Steve and Lisa be high-income earners," he said. "Me, too," Surette said, laughing. "Jac, that endorsement you got from Steve and Lisa," Lieberman said, of the couple who had sung Cuddy's praises for helping them get their business off the ground, "I wish I could get that sort of endorsement
(in his run for president)."
Lieberman would offer small businesses permanent tax cuts, invest in innovation, and create incentives for businesses to stay on American soil. He liked what he saw in the incubator and wants to see the technology center become a reality.
"This is a model," he said. "I've seen programs like this but nothing quite as extensive or visionary. It's progressive and ought to be the model for other communities."

The lone health care question came from Murphy, who said he and wife are semi-retired and pay $1,100 a month in health insurance. "Can you help me understand the cost of health care," he asked, and wondered why prescription drugs were much cheaper "four hours to the north of us."
Lieberman, who said his health care initiative will be out after Labor Day, said the chief problem is Americans are the ones footing the bills for all of the research into the drugs. "The pharmaceutical companies say we've got to charge someone for the price of researching drugs ‹ that's the American consumer, who is covering for the rest of the world. This is going to come to a head. It's not fair, we need other countries around the world to come on board and pay for this research, too."
Bungeroth asked about the No Child Left Behind funding mandate. "It was a good idea to raise the standards," Lieberman said. "Bush left behind $6 million he promised to fund for that act, making it an unfunded mandate. We've just got to close that gap... We owe it to the schools to fund the IDEA Special Education program. As president, one of my priorities would be to fully fund No Child Left Behind and IDEA."

Lieberman headed north to Berlin following his visit to Center Conway. He vowed to be back in the North Country in the fall. |