Two weeks after Barack Obama spoke at Santa Barbara City College, fellow Democratic presidential candidate and Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich held a rally at the same location last Monday.
About 200 people gathered in front of the SBCC Student Resource Building on Monday morning as Kucinich took the stage. Accompanied by his wife Elizabeth, Kucinich tackled pertinent political issues, including problems associated with the education system and the environment.
“America needs to go green and I hope to lead the way to do that,” Kucinich said. “I’ll have every single department of government working on sustainability.”
Kucinich’s environmental policies went over particularly well with the crowd, which consisted mostly of students. If elected, Kucinich said he would use the war budget money for educational funding.
“War as an instrument of policy is a dead end,” Kucinich said. “I believe in investing in young people instead of investing in weapons.”
Kucinich’s most dramatic promise was to bring justice and criminal charges to politicians currently in office, including President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, the Secretaries of Defense and State and all of their advisors and assistants.
“Anyone who sent nearly 4,000 innocent Americans to die based on lies will be prosecuted under constitutional law,” Kucinich said.
Elizabeth Kucinich also spoke briefly on her husband’s behalf. She addressed issues such as his voting record in Congress and his efforts toward peace.
She said her husband was one of the few senators to vote in opposition to the Patriot Act, a document signed into law in 2001 that permits the government’s access to phone calls and other forms of communication that were previously considered private.
“He didn’t vote for the Patriot Act,” Elizabeth Kucinich said. “Do you know why? He read it.”
Many students at the rally said they were impressed with Dennis Kucinich and his record. Emma Gaskill, a second-year international politics major at SBCC, said she likes Kucinich’s commitment to his own beliefs.
“He’s the only candidate who actually wants to bring the troops home,” Gaskill said. “He’s actually doing what he says he will.”
Third-year sociology major Sam Cushing said he also respected Kucinich’s campaign because he believes the representative is honest and ethical.
“He’s not in anyone’s pockets,” Cushing said. “If he doesn’t agree with a corporation, he won’t get money from them. He’s walking the talk.”
Though he trails behind other Democratic candidates such as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, Kucinich said he still believes he can gain enough support to become a frontrunner.
“We like to be told we’re so small,” Kucinich said. “We have to remember the power of our own humanity and claim it.”