Tuesday, March 14, 2006

John Kerry visits with Cincinnati Mayor Mallory

I reported last night that John Kerry was in Cincinnati yesterday meeting with Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory and a group pf small business leaders, The Cincinnati Enquirer has more...

It's been more than a year since John Kerry lost the 2004 presidential election, but in some ways, he's still campaigning.

The U.S. senator from Massachusetts was at City Hall on Tuesday to meet with Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory, then stopped by Montgomery Inn Boathouse to talk with a group of about 20 small-business leaders. He positioned the trip as policy-driven, since he's the ranking Democratic member of the Senate's Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

Before the lunch, Kerry visited a thank-you event for campaign supporters. He met with Mallory, who gave him a wish list of projects the city needs federal cash to make happen - development of the central riverfront ($8 million), the possible new exchange at Interstate 71 and Martin Luther King Boulevard ($3 million), redevelopment of the burned-out Queen City Barrel complex ($1.5 million) and placing digital cameras and audio in all police cruisers ($227,000).

Then it was off to the small-business roundtable, where Kerry said it was "way too early" to decide whether to run for president in 2008.

But Kerry kept touching on his 2004 campaign themes, starting with the first question from local business owner Clifford Bailey of TechSoft Systems Inc. about health-care costs.

"I'm not going to put you on the spot and ask who voted for President Bush," he told the group before discussing his campaign's health-care plan.

"If you simply leave it completely up to the marketplace, a lot of people get left behind."

Similar themes arose after a question on fuel surcharges from Sandra Clark of ESJ Carrier Corp. in Finneytown. Why, she wanted to know, wouldn't Congress back a mandatory fuel surcharge on transportation customers to help truckers hurt by higher fuel costs?

"Because we have a majority of people in the Congress who don't want to be accused of raising any tax whatsoever," Kerry said.

Kerry encouraged the group to "weigh in" with their elected representatives in Congress to encourage more funding for the U.S. Small Business Administration.


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