Gore backs student aid at USG stop
|(click pictures to enlarge)|
|Vice President Al Gore campaigns before a full house at the Ohio Union on Wednesday afternoon.|
Lantern staff writer
Vice President Al Gore brought his presidential campaign to Ohio State to outline his plan for education, stressing the importance of equal access to a quality education as one of the most important factors in sustaining America1s economic growth.
"We need to make it possible for every young person that wants to, and can`t afford it, to go to college," Gore said.
Mayor Michael Coleman introduced the vice president.
"Al Gore is someone who I view as a fighter for this university, a fighter for Columbus, a fighter for the state of Ohio and a fighter for all families in the United States," he said.
USG, Inter-Professional Council and the Council of Graduate Students sent campus invitations to presidential candidates Al Gore, Bill Bradley, George W. Bush, Steve Forbes and John McCain. Al Gore was the first to visit. Bush said he could not accept the invitation at this time, according to Ron Meyers, president of the Council of graduate Students. The other candidates have yet to respond.
Speaking to a crowd of about 1,500 students at the Ohio Union, Gore outlined what he wants to accomplish if elected president. Better pay for teachers, smaller classrooms, more one-on-one instruction and an investment in infrastructure through the building of schools and an
increased access to the technological revolution are the initiatives Gore outlined to lead schools into the 21st century.
"We now have an information revolution that is without precedent in American history," he said. "One of the consequences is that businesses in America have good paying jobs they can1t fill because they can`t find enough people with the education needed to take on the skills needed for this new generation of jobs."
Gore said making it possible for middle-income families to have an easier time paying for college tuition and providing federal resources to help school`s maintain adequate funding levels are both necessary goals in the fight to improve the access and quality of higher education.
Protesters could be heard in the cheering crowd when Gore turned his attention to the environment.
"I am convinced we have the capability to clean up our water and air, and at the same time create new technology," he said.
Several protesters holding up signs against a Waste Technologies Industries incinerator in East Liverpool, Ohio, were shouting, "No more broken promises!"
In 1992, as one of his first environmental moves, Gore called for a halt on the building and licensing of the hazardous waste incinerator, but the Environmental Protection Agency nevertheless issued operating permits in 1993.
"Let`s hear it for the first amendment," Gore said, acknowledging the protesters. "Let`s hear it for free speech. I`d be glad to meet with you afterward and talk about this if you`d like," he said. "But right now I want to tell you what I think we need to do to secure the future of this country so all these young people here at Ohio State can have the America of their dreams."
Afterward, Gore did indeed meet with several of the protesters, telling them there had not been anything more he could do about it at the time but that he would look into it again.
Gore went on to other issues saying: "I believe in supporting civil rights laws, I believe we still need affirmative action, I believe in a woman`s right to choose, in equal pay for equal work and that we can become one nation regardless of sexual orientation, race or religion."
Quoting Indian freedom fighter Mahatma Gandhi, Gore said, "You must become the change you wish to see in the world."
He also touched on universal health care, providing prescription drug cost for seniors through Medicare and increasing the minimum wage by a dollar an hour.
"I`m running for president to meet these goals and because I want to fight for you," he said. "You can make a decisive difference."