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Kerry Targeting West, Looking to Hispanics, Jobless... Wife Meets with Hispanic Activists in Florida... Kerry Courts Hispanic Vote with Remarks About Leaders

Kerry Targeting West, Looking to Hispanics, Jobless

June 22, 2004
Copyright © 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

DENVER (AP) (AP) – Union member Tony Marquez is supporting John Kerry this election year. President Bush, he says, has left middle-class workers and Hispanics with lower-paying jobs and difficulty finding health care.

"The only jobs available today to Hispanics are flipping burgers," he said.

Job losses and a growing Hispanic population have put Western states back in play in the presidential race, Kerry said Monday.

During his first campaign visit to Colorado, the Democratic candidate said a number of states, including Nevada and Arizona, are now competitive because voters are upset over a lack of jobs, health care, education and immigration policies.

"I think there are an enormous number of Western issues, beginning with jobs," Kerry told The Associated Press. "Health care is an enormous issue out here. Education is a huge issue. The environment has some serious concerns.

"Folks moved out here, live out here and love it out here because of the quality of life. It's important to hold on to it."

Kerry raised $500,000 during a fund-raiser in Aspen and $1.4 million more in Denver on Monday night, Colorado campaign spokesman Steve Haro said.

Kerry said that although Bush hails from the border state of Texas, his campaign is attracting Hispanic voters, who are upset with Bush.

"They should be very upset because he has broken every promise he made to the Hispanic community. He promised No Child Left Behind education funding, he didn't deliver on it. He said he would deal with immigration reform, and he never has, never even tried. The Hispanic community tends to be entry level, not all, but a majority. They are struggling with health care issues and education issues and I think the president has walked away from those," Kerry said.

Lisa Duran, spokeswoman for Rights for American People, a Hispanic lobbying group, said Bush administration policies have resulted in hundreds of legal immigrants being kicked out of Medicaid programs in Colorado.

Political consultant Rick Ridder said Kerry, who was born in Colorado and has a home in Idaho, understands Western issues. He said many voters are worried that the Bush administration will continue to pursue policies that endanger the environment, such as expansion of oil drilling.

"There are some who fear that hunting and fishing areas won't be around much longer," Ridder said.

But Danny Diaz, spokesman for the Bush campaign, said Kerry is out of touch with Colorado values, supporting partial-birth abortion, and opposing healthy forests legislation that allowed the thinning of forests to prevent wildfires.

Kerry said he supports limited thinning of forests but that Bush went too far.

"There are some other areas where I think the administration has more logging policy than fire policy involved, and I'm concerned about that. I think there is a balance," he said.

Kerry said the Endangered Species Act has been misused but still has a role in environmental policy.

"There have been some exaggerations. There have been some situations where I think you could be thoughtful in your approach so you're not necessarily so confrontational, but I do think species preservation has been very important," he said.

Kerry said if the nation developed biofuels, it would not have to rely on oil from the Middle East, where terrorism and attacks on coalition forces have become a way of life.

"We need to face the reality that no young American in uniform should ever be held hostage to America's dependence on oil from the Middle East," Kerry told a cheering crowd at the Denver fund raiser.

Diaz, the Bush campaign spokesman, said Kerry flip-flopped on the No Child Left Behind Act, previously praising it as groundbreaking legislation that enhances the nation's commitment to schools.

He also said Bush has a better record on the economy.

"John Kerry's pessimism and misery tour ignores the reality that the president's pro-growth policies have helped create 1.4 million jobs over the past nine months," Diaz said.

Kerry's campaign swing comes as the Western Governors Association holds its annual meeting this week in Santa Fe., N.M. Governors from several Western states hope to establish a regional primary in 2008 to give the fast growing region more political muscle in the presidential race.

Kerry's Wife Meets with Hispanic Activists in Florida


EFE News Service

June 23, 2004
Copyright © 2004 EFE News Service. All rights reserved.

ORLANDO, FL.-- Teresa Heinz Kerry, the polyglot wife of Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry, met here Wednesday with local women who are activists and community leaders, most of them Hispanic.

During the event, held at the city's Hispanic Office of Local Affairs, or HOLA, Heinz Kerry spoke in both English and flawless Spanish.

Born in Mozambique to Portuguese parents, Kerry's wife speaks Portuguese, English, French, Spanish and Italian.

For two hours, the Massachusetts senator's wife discussed with the activists some of the needs and problems working women in the United States face, such as a lack of health coverage and the high cost of child care.

"It's necessary to make these services accessible to all working women. We must begin to address these very important issues. They can't continue to be the privilege of the few," Heinz Kerry told some 30 women and community activists who crowded the small site.

She highlighted the importance of involving all women in this effort.

"We must pay special attention to including the country's minority women in these issues in order to build a community that really includes us all," Heinz Kerry said.

Sonia Hernandez, president of the Dominican Society of Central Florida, said the issues discussed during the meeting with Heinz Kerry were very relevant to the Hispanic community.

"Many of us don't have health coverage, not because we don't want to, but because many times we don't have the necessary resources. That's why it's encouraging to hear Teresa speak like that. She's a woman who has been involved in our struggles for a long time," the activist told EFE.

According to the director of HOLA, Maritza Sanz of Puerto Rico, the importance of the visit was that the Democratic candidate's wife was able to see for herself the many needs of the region's Hispanic community.

"She was able to learn firsthand what our specific needs are and what is going on in our community. She saw the reality of our situation," Sanz told EFE.

Blanca Garcia, a young Mexican activist who is lobbying for driver's licenses for illegal Hispanic immigrants, voiced her concerns to Mrs. Kerry.

"The issue of driver's licenses for illegal Hispanic immigrants is something that concerns us very much. We've got to go out to work to feed our families and we do so running the risk of driving without a license," Garcia told Kerry's wife.

Heinz Kerry was born in Mozambique, where her Portuguese parents fled to escape the military dictatorship in their homeland.

Her first husband, Pennsylvania Republican Sen. John Heinz, died in a plane crash in 1991. The couple had been married for 25 years.

In 1995, Heinz Kerry - the heiress to the family ketchup fortune - married the current Democratic presidential hopeful.

If her husband is elected in November, Teresa Heinz Kerry would become the second foreign-born first lady of the United States. The first was British-born Louisa Adams, wife of John Quincy Adams.

Kerry Courts Hispanic Vote with Remarks About Leaders
John Kerry says he would be a better friend to Latin America than President Bush, whom he accuses of not promoting democracy in the region.


July 6, 2004
Copyright © 2004 The Miami Herald. All rights reserved.

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry is sharpening his criticism of Hugo Chávez, suggesting the Venezuelan president risks becoming an ''outlaw'' if he doesn't ensure that next month's recall referendum on his presidency is conducted fairly.

The comments come as Kerry attempts to portray himself as ''deeply involved'' with Latin America, at the same time accusing the White House of failing to promote democratic reform in Venezuela and elsewhere.

Strategists have suggested the Chávez critique can help Kerry curry support among Cuban-American voters in Florida, who view Chávez as an ally of Fidel Castro. Democrats believe they have an opportunity this year to peel off some reliably Republican Cuban-American voters incensed by the president's recent crackdown on travel and aid to Cuba.

'A Real Challenge'

In a televised interview that will air Wednesday in 19 Latin America countries, Kerry called the upcoming referendum in Venezuela ''a real challenge to the entire hemisphere'' and said that ''as president,'' he would ``work with the international community to bring pressure in the interest of democracy.

''Global transparency, accountability of government, democracy, I think is critical everywhere, but particularly to our hemisphere,'' Kerry said in the interview with Herald columnist Andres Oppenheimer for the TV program Oppenheimer Presenta. ``If Chavez does not respect that process, then he makes himself an outlaw with respect to those values and those interests.''

The interview with Oppenheimer came as Kerry stepped up his efforts last week to court Hispanics, a critical voting group in several presidential battleground states, including Florida. He lashed out at the Bush administration for not helping Argentina during its 2001 economic downturn and rejected charges that he's ''protectionist'' for suggesting a review of existing trade agreements.

Kerry spent much of last week unveiling Latin American policies and pledging to make immigration reform a top priority.

He gave few details on his immigration policies in the interview but offered his opinion on several Latin American leaders. Asked to name ''three or four'' Latin leaders he respected, Kerry reached back to former Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, who left office in 1990.

Kerry offered voluminous praise for Mexican President Vicente Fox, describing him as ``charismatic, thoughtful, intelligent, articulate, very capable.''

And he accused President Bush of breaking his promise with respect to Fox. ''He said he was going to work with him, do immigration, have this very significant building block or relationship [and it] hasn't happened,'' Kerry said. ``He just got mad at Vicente Fox because he didn't support Iraq. So they didn't have a discussion. Immigration's been dropped completely.''

Asked about the left-of-center Brazilian president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Kerry said he was impressed with da Silva's election, ``by the way he came up through the people, by his roots.''

And he suggested da Silva has been ``incredibly responsible monetarily, fiscally.''

''He surprised some people in the direction that he went and I would be very excited about working with him,'' Kerry said.

He was less enthusiastic about Argentina's left-of-center president, Néstor Kirchner, saying he didn't ``have a great sense of him.''

A spokeswoman for the Bush campaign rejected Kerry's assertion that the administration has put Latin America on a back burner.

''This president has a record that stands tall when it comes to Latin America, and he has very good relationships with the different leaders in this hemisphere,'' said Bush spokeswoman Sharon Castillo.

Republicans have charged Kerry with changing his position on Cuba, and Kerry sought in the interview to clarify remarks he made last month about the Varela Project, the petition signed by more than 30,000 Cubans on the island to hold a referendum on whether to hold free elections.


At the time, Kerry noted the project had ``gotten a lot of people in trouble.''

He told Oppenheimer that the remarks were ''misinterpreted'' and said he would do more to work with dissidents.

''I support the dissidents wholeheartedly in Cuba,'' he said. ``My impression, the reason I said it's been counterproductive, is they've been encouraged, but without the kind of policies that . . . empower and change.''

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