Richardson Blog Round Up for Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Hands down, Governor Richardson's plan for Iraq is the most intelligent, responsible, practical, moral, and detailed plan on the subject.  In Part I of his summary and analysis of all Democratic candidates' policy platforms on the war in Iraq, Chris Weigant appreciates Governor Richardson's consistency, thoroughness, and clarity on this important issue:
With the most important debate of the whole year (and possibly the whole war) teed up and ready to begin in Congress in the next few weeks, I thought it would be a good time to do a summary and analysis of what all the Democratic candidates have to say on the subject of Iraq...

Bill Richardson is one of the most consistent voices in the Democratic campaign on Iraq. He not only wants to begin withdrawing troops, he wants them all out in six months. All of them. This is significant because many of the other candidates refuse to give an honest answer to the question: How many troops would you leave behind, and for how long? Richardson does so admirably.

He lays out his 7 point plan on his website, in an attempt to answer every question about how exactly we should get out of Iraq. This is also significant, because many of the candidates' websites are severely lacking in details, instead merely hitting broad generalities. Richardson tells you exactly what he wants to do on Iraq, in enough detail to answer your questions but not with so much minutiæ that your eyes glaze over. He seems to have struck a perfect balance on how to address the issue.

Governor Richardson spoke with Wolf Blitzer this past Sunday on CNN's "Late Edition" about the current situation in Iraq and the governor's strategy on how we should move forward.  To watch Governor Richardson on Late Edition, click here.

You can learn more about Governor Richardson's plan for the future of Iraq here.  And if you have any questions about the governor's policy platform on Iraq or any other issue, don't forget you can Ask Bill yourself right here.

On Monday, Governor Richardson met with Cedar Rapids firefighters to discuss another important issue: how to improve health care for first responders across the country.  The governor's plan calls for $500 million to close the "health care gap" affecting retired first responders who aren't yet old enough to be eligible for Medicare.  Dick Hogan covered Governor Richardson's meeting with the firefighters in the Fire House bar in Cedar Rapids for The Gazette:
Richardson, governor of New Mexico, sat down with the firefighters and asked if they had read the proposal. He then spent the time conversing with the group about the plan, asking their concerns -- and couldn't resist seeking their opinion about New Mexico's new basketball coach, former Iowa coach Steve Alford...

Richardson found sympathetic ears at the Monday meeting. Rick Scofield, who has 28 years in as a firefighter, said he will retire in two years. His health coverage with the city costs him very little, but that would change dramatically after retirement.  ''It will cost me about $1,300 a month out of my pension to keep health insurance. That's crazy. Health care costs ... are out of control. Something has got to be done,'' said Scofield, also president of the firefighters union.

For, Justin Schardin also reported on Iowa firefighters' reactions to Governor Richardson's proposal:
Told of Richardson's plan to bridge health coverage between retirement and Medicare eligibility, [Wayne] Sawtelle [political director of the Iowa Professional Firefighters] said, "That's huge. That's a big issue for a lot of our folks, [impacting] whether or not they can retire.... That's a big chip to put on the table."

...Hiawatha's Andy Oleson said he liked that Richardson has dealt with these issues as governor, and that was one of the reasons he was a Richardson fan coming into yesterday. He remained one after the event...

Richardson said the plan grew out of dialogue he had at the annual IPFF convention in Iowa City on June 26, where he asked for feedback on the top concerns that firefighters had.  He said the plan would cost about $500 million per year to Washington, which based on the 50-50 funding split, would mean another $500 million in costs divided between state governments. The plan also includes provisions to improve the workers' compensation system and increase Homeland Security funding for first responders, among other things.

I mentioned an article on Governor Richardson's first responders health care plan in yesterday's Round Up, and I'd like to share with you the comment from a user from Vancouver, Washington in response to that article:
I was a Deputy Sheriff for 21 years. When I retired, I was unable to obtain health insurance through my state plan or my county plan. In order to pay for my own insurance, I would end up paying over 1/2 of my retirement pay. I went back to work at a job that paid a portion of my insurance costs. I have known many officers who have retired after 20-30 years working for the people of this country who have had to go back to work just for the insurance. I was willing to give my life for those people, but the state and county do not seem willing to help me now I am retired. Gov. Richardson's plan would be enormaously helpful to us, as well a a thanks to all of us who were willing to give all for others. Thanks for thinking of us, Bill!
For more information about Governor Richardson's plan to better care for our first responders, click here.

At Blue Mass Group, blogger sabutai compared the Democratic presidential candidates' websites' treatment of education reform issues.  Sabutai almost literally "graded" the candidates on a number of factors, including their stance on No Child Left Behind, their position on charter and voucher programs, and other important education issues:

I firmly believe that education is an important issue that should be prominent on candidates' websites, and those websites should include detailed, reflective plans... I am not looking to see if a candidate agrees with me -- more on that later -- but rather the degree to which a candidate has laid out a clear vision on education by backing it up with numbers and strategies.  Al Gore, the Democratic Mahdi, got by for an entire campaign by saying "it's time to start treating teachers like the professionals they are" -- a line Hillary steals on her site.  I didn't understand what that was supposed to be code for then, and I still don't.  I'm looking for better here...

Stance on No Child Left Behind
In addition to shoving the federal government into territory where it has little constitutional business, No Child Left Behind has turned teaching into testing, and is a boon for private companies that write and score the tests, as well as training teachers on how to beat them.  Its arbitrary nature demands perfection from public schools within the next ten years (can you imagine a law demanding that no doctor have a patient die by decade's end?) and is modeled notably on the measures of the Houston School System, which faked a lot of its data.

I maintain that discussing education without mentioning No Child Left Behind is tantamount to not including Iraq in one's foreign policy platform.

No surprise, Governor Richardson was at the head of the class in this section:
Acing: Richardson's first point addresses the law (he wants to "scrap" it)...
The governor blew away the competition in the next section too -- Charter and Voucher Programs:
Richardson opts for expanding charter schools, but comes out against vouchers ("cannot afford and should not spend taxpayer money to support private schools")...
Sabutai also gave "Extra Credit" to candidates who brought up important education issues that no one else discussed:
Richardson also gets props for being the only candidate to bring parents into the equation.
The governor's plans to improve education in America certainly deserve props for those and other reasons.  To find out more about Governor Richardson's policy platform on education, click here.

Lastly for today, some reminders about the upcoming Labor Day weekend, which the governor will be spending in New Hampshire.  As Cosmo wrote at New Hampshire Presidential Watch this afternoon, Governor Richardson is returning to the Granite State on Saturday, September 1, for a two-day trip around the state.  During this trip, the governor will be attending "Job Interview" events in a number of communities, including Londonderry, Milford, Canterbury, Dover, and Plymouth.  He'll also be stopping by Oktoberfest in Danbury.  Last weekend Governor Richardson stopped in Peterborough, Keene, Windham, Manchester, Nashua, Bow, Laconia, and Exeter.  For SeacoastOnline, Melissa Lattman covered the reactions of the Granite Staters who attended the "Job Interview" in Exeter:

Gov. Bill Richardson made his first campaign visit to Exeter Saturday evening at the home of Barbara Wetherbee.  Richardson outlined his first six days in office giving his views and plans on Iraq, education, economy, energy, health care and civil liberties followed by time for voters to ask questions.

About 100 people filled the Wetherbee's kitchen overflowing into the four-season porch where a fan and ice-cold bottled water gave some relief near the end of a hot day for the roughly 90-minute supper time gathering.

"I liked him and his comments. Hillary Clinton has experience. (Sen. Barack) Obama is a candidate of change, I've got both," said Lou Roberts of Stratham...

Aaron Marquez said he was excited that Richardson's education reform plans included help for paying off college loans through national service programs. Marquez is a co-founder of ServeNext, a political grassroots movement dedicated to expansion of national service including programs for baby boomers and an increase in federal funding for national service programs like AmeriCorps and Peace Corps, Marquez said...

"I like him more than I thought I would, his willingness to take questions," said Chris Vallone of Epping."He had good give and take with people."

"I was very impressed he covered the issues like health care," said Phyllis Killem-Abell of Exeter.  As a woman and a feminist she said she liked Richardson being in support of the Equal Rights Amendment...

Wetherbee said Richardson gave very thoughtful answers, not sound bites. "I appreciate his experience and (interest) to make friends with enemies, come to the table and talk. He was very professional."

For more information about Governor Richardson's upcoming New Hampshire visit, click here.  To find out more about events in your area, click here.

That's all for today, I hope you'll come by again tomorrow.

Until then,

Tags: 2008, Bill Richardson, Blogosphere, Democrats, Education, first responders, Health care, Iraq, New Hampshire (all tags)


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