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« Lynchburg Regional HQ Grand Opening Photos | Main | DNC Bus Day Six: Contributed Photos »

August 28, 2004

Day Six: Bruce Roemmelt on the DNC Bus


Blog day six

Today we had events in Scranton and Philadelphia. There were again some amazing stories of pain and heroism.

I have been honored to speak for all 70 real people tomorrow when we do our final NYC event. It dawned on me that this trip is really about the stories that I have been transcribing for the past six days.

So tonight I want to just let those stories tell the tale...

Ken Winters
Parkersburg WV

What a day yesterday was on the American Can Do Better bus tour. It was truly an honor to stand in the historical Olivet institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland Ohio. A church where Martin Luther King once spoke. I remember thinking that were he alive today, ?Dr. King would probably be with us, as we endeavor to ensure that all Americans become aware that all American become aware that they don't remain under conditions induced upon us by the Bush administration. We can do better, we deserve better, we will do better. America Can Do Better.

Keith Lau
Pittsburgh, PA

I'm a 55 years old and I worry about whether my health care and pension will be around when I'm ready to retire. Will I be able to afford to retire when I'm 62 after paying into these funds for 48 years??

Also I'm worried about the economy and the shape it is in under this administration that came in with a 300 trillion dollar surplus and in three years turned it into 425 trillion dollar deficit. That's a swing of 700 trillion dollars in 3.5 years.

I'm also concerned about the 200,000 young men and women that are involved in a non-sanctioned (by the UN) war. Most of the countries that were our allies are now our non-allies. America Can Do Better

Frank Stare
Newark, Ohio
One thin I have learned on the "America Can Do Better" tour is how much the people I have met are looking for real leadership in Washington DC.

Jobs, Healthcare and the war seem to be on everyone's mind most people I have talked to want peace and prosperity like we had in the 90's under President Clinton and Gore.

John Kerry has been a proven leader over the years as a senator and that proven record of public service should be continued as president.

Gerald Bacco
Oakmont, PA

I have joined the America Can Do Better bus tour to share my support for John Kerry and John Edwards. I am unemployed as a direct result of /George Bush's policies. Electrical unions and other building trades have the highest percentage of unemployment from the inception of the IBEW in over 150 years.

My unemployment is going to run out so I will be "off the books" like hundreds of other electrical workers who will no longer be counted as unemployed.

Since Bush's election my health insurance has risen from $2.60/hour in the Clinton era, to $6.50 now. I will also lose my health care benefits soon due to my unemployment. All have lost because of Bush, and I worry for my son.

With outsourcing, what can he look forward to?

Geneva Barrax
Cleveland Ohio

As a veterans care advocate, I'm concerned about the erosion of benefits for those who serve our great country. Increased co-pay, increased percentage of disability required to qualify for disability. And then there is the proposed and actual reduction in the numbers of VA clinics and funding for veteran's hospital.

Relative to the current conflict, it says in the bible (Luke 14:27-33) "...a builder should not begin to construct a building without knowing the cost, lest he should be unable to finish the building and would come into mockery by his neighbors who would also say he started something and could not finish it." Also a king should not go to war with 10,000 against an enemy with a league of 20,000 without determining the outcome and without trying to gain a peaceful settlement first.

The bible needs no further elucidation. We need a change. We need Kerry/Edwards to bring a normalcy into the White House and to enable the citizens of the United States to hope and dream of a stable country again.

Mandy Priest
Pittsburgh, PA
My decision to attend the America Can Do Better bus tour was based on an evident wrong that must be made right. Over the past four years I have seen the civil liberties of my friends and family threatened and jobs shipped over seas. All the while the bloodlines in the White House have continued to get thinner. It scares me to my core that our country is run by people who have more stock in Halliburton and Iraq oil than they do in the American people and their future.

I want our country to be run by someone whose interests revolve around the advancement of our children, healthcare and economy, rather than the bulge of his wallet and the esteem of his residence. I want my confidence restored and I feel strongly that Kerry/Edwards can and will do this.

No one should run this country by appealing to our fears.

Art Clausen
Pataskela, Ohio

When asked why drive to Pittsburgh Pa and get on a bus for four days crossing the country to NYC the answer was pretty simple - THE KIDS. Both my 2 boys and all the other young people in this country.

The American Dream is for each generation to live a better life they their parents. For me this is certainly true. I was the first in my family to graduate from college. I chose teaching and spent 33 years as a science teacher of 7th and 8th grade kids. In my heart I felt that I could also help my students fulfill their own version of the American Dream.

For many the dream will never come true, because it is fading every day. I had hoped that my boys would follow me in the pursuit of the dream but that does not seem to be the case. My youngest son is one of the millions of unemployed with his computer job being sent overseas and the pressure of trying to get health insurance heavily clouds his future.

America Can Do Better


Judie Saputo
Columbus, Ohio
In '86 9i was a Republican because that's the way I was raised. When Bush's dad was elected I lost my job. When Clinton got elected I got the job back but - making $250 less an hour. All my savings were gone and I lost my home.

When the Democrats got into office I started to recover but in 2001 my job was sent overseas. John Kerry will, I feel get this country back to where it needs to be. America Can Do Better.

Lois Spurlock
I'm on the America Can Do Better bus because I believe that slogan will be carried out by a Kerry presidency.

My 401K is all gone. My job and my health insurance are in jeopardy under the administration of GW Bush. Like Judie I worked for Lucent and 3/4 of our jobs were shipped overseas. Our work was sold to another company who only took a few of us. We worked for much less and now there is a high confidence that these jobs will be going to Canada.

We must get Bush out of office and elect John Kerry, a man who really cares about working people and jobs. Let's restore our jobs, wages, pensions, and get us health care. We need to restore our dignity as a nation. Vote for Kerry

Grace Cherrington
Licking County, Ohio

Health care coverage is my primary issue. The programs that are available are often out of reach of normal Americans. I also think that the "Marriage Amendment" will further limit benefits that public and private organizations now offer at a full our reduced rate to extended families and domestic partners.

I'm very concerned about unemployment and under employment and the increase in the number of "Temp" contract jobs which offer no benefits, pension or health insurance.

We need john Kerry and John Edwards in the White House.

Keith Gwinn
Nitro, West Virginia
I'm a 50 year old Navy Veteran currently working for the VA. I joined the tour because I'm concerned about the care being given to our vets. The cuts are everywhere. Medical benefits, medical facilities and the current administration has even introduced a $250 enrollment fee for vets.

If the government cannot take care of existing vets what does that tell the people that are serving right now?

My 18 year old daughter has just completed basic training. With all the other proposed reductions I wonder if she is being properly equipped and trained. When you hear the stories about the way the war is being conducted you wonder if they will be given the best shot at being protected.

We need a change.

Ray Mastin
Occupation: Retired USNR Commander

The first thing that struck me when I joined this trip is the wide range of people involved. They come from all walks of life and all backgrounds. There are several people who used to vote Republican and now have changed their minds.

One of the many reasons I chose to participate on this bus tour comes from a personal tragedy. My father recently passed away after a long illness. He was a decorated Vietnam War veteran. John Kerry's medals and honor were questioned, with the consent of the Commander-in-Chief. The President refuses to honor and defend policy that awarded those medals. You can not win three Purple Hearts, a Silver Star and a Bronze Star by faking injuries and combat action. If you could do that it would call into question all veterans who earned awards. The president has shown me by his inactions that he is putting his re-election above the honor or all veterans. One of the greatest tributes I can pay to my father is to defend his honor. Only a person who has not served in an active duty capacity can not understand that this is a bond that you must not break. I am sorry to say the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and the President of the United States have broken this bond.

On this tour I have spoken to many veterans of past wars. I am appalled by the treatment these men and women have received. Their benefits have been cut and they are in actual fear for their future healthcare. Many of these people are from the Greatest Generation. We do not have the right to treat them this way. If they suffer, then I suffer. I believe that is the true American tradition. If the least among us is threat by losing or reduction of our civil rights, then all of us are at risk. These and many other reasons cause me great concern about this present administration.

This does not include the social and economic damage George W. Bush is doing to this country. It is time for a change!


Salome Baugher

Less than a week after I closed on my first house, Staunton City Schools eliminated my job due to budget cuts. The effects of No Child Left Behind resulted in the School Social Worker being left behind. I was the only certified School Social Worker working for the entire school district serving pre-kindergarten through 12th grades. I was told the school psychologists would take over my job duties despite the fact they are not trained nor qualified to do social work. Plans are for the school system to contract out (privatize) my job duties if the psychologists are unable to keep up with their already full time work load and the additional social work responsibilities.

I worked with children and families providing resources, making referrals to other agencies, doing home visits, conducting groups with children, and interviewing parents for social history reports used in determining eligibility for special education services. By shifting social worker responsibilities onto the psychologists placed undue burden on them whose primary role is to conduct psychological testing.

Families are missing out because they no longer have an advocate working for them. The children who are most at risk with the greatest needs stand to benefit the most from having a social worker are the victims of budget cuts.

Additionally, I have been applying for jobs resulting in only two interviews in the past five months. Even though I am eligible for COBRA health insurance, the out of pocket expense is exorbitant. I am on the America Can Do Better bus in support of John Kerry and John Edwards because we cannot afford four more years of the failed policies of the Bush administration. The alleged Bush economic recovery has not trickled down to me!


Mandy Campbell
Pittsburgh, PA
I'm concerned about health care and the nursing shortage in America. As a nurse we are advocates for patients. We see more and more uninsured and many fewer people able to afford health care. The Kerry/Edwards plan for health care will cover about 94% of the population in America. That's not perfect but will serve as an excellent start.

An additional issue is the recent overtime rulings. Due to shortages in nursing there is much more required overtime. With the new Bush rules many nurses will not get overtime in the future. This will further exacerbate the nursing shortage as many more will leave the profession.

John Kerry and John Edwards are both sensitive to the issues but unlike the current administration will address the problem and keep the needs of the patients in the forefront. America Can Do Better.

David Grubbs
Harrisburg, PA
I am from Harrisburg, PA and I am on the American Can Do Better bus because I see my countries' future teetering on the edge of the abyss. Through the agency of George Bush, our nation's foreign policy has been given over into the hands of the most dangerous cult on earth, the so called neo-conservatives.

This group, which includes most of the high civilian officials in the Pentagon as well as VP Cheney, represent a political philosophy that is neither new not conservative. They see the purpose of our armed services as an instrument for aggressively imposing our will upon the world, not for the defense of our country.

International cooperation is, to their thinking, the choices of last resort, which of course makes it less effective when it is most needed, if we remove the "but we're good guys" filter it begins to look like old-fashioned fascism.

Wars, as so many of our young people are now discovering is a horrible thing. Whatever good it may achieve is gained only at a terrible cost. None of the neo-cons experienced this for themselves, and that may be why they tend to regard it as just another move in some kind of global game of chess, and why they are so quick to dismiss the Geneva Convention, the UN Charter and the Christian doctrine of Just WAR as an inexpedient and un important.

I am on the bus because John Kerry shows an understanding of these things where George Bush Shows none. Kerry will send the Neo-cons packing and will show respect for the world community and thereby begin to regain the worlds respect for America. He was not my first choice for the Dem Nomination (I was and remain a Deaniac) but Kerry is my choice for November 2 and the next 4 years.


Mary Donahue
Scranton, PA
I am a RN and have witnessed the degradation in health care that John Kerry and John Edwards will change. They will make an excellent start on addressing the issues - it's not the perfect solution but it is a wonderful start to address these critical issues.

I have seen so many patients that are in such financial binds - not only about getting health care, but continuing to pay for the continued care and medications.

In contrast I have a friend in England who tells me that their National Health Care covers everything. She was just diagnosed with MS. She has a physical therapist, occupational therapist, a specialist MS nurse, wheelchair, crutches, and a monthly cash stipend due to her inability to work and they will modify her car so she can get around. All through national health. Why can't we get half way there???

America Can Do Better...


That is a powerful bunch of stories.

70 Real People from...

4 states. All proud to be...

One country. Composed of

Many faiths, economic and social status.

All believing that America Can Do Better. And with John Kerry and John Edwards in the White House we will.

More tomorrow.

Wish me luck...

b

Posted by bruce roemmelt at August 28, 2004 11:46 PM

Comments

Are there going to be pix of day 7 of the bus tour...also how can we submit pix from our digital cameras to you for this blog

Posted by: GA at August 30, 2004 03:36 PM

I met Sarah, Salome, Bruce in Niles, OH. Keep up the great work. Weren't you so pleased to see the thousands of pro-Kerry demonstrators in NYC? "Anarchists," as Rush Limbaugh called them (ha ha) All ages, all walks of life, and even many NYC residents who oppose Bush. This is the most important election of our lifetime. Best wishes, Bev Parks.

Posted by: Beverly Parks at August 31, 2004 10:02 AM