KERRY COMES OUT SWINGING AT LABOR DAY RALLY - Roberts Says Democrats Would Like To Go To Heaven Too


Candidate Kerry says wrong choices are being
made for America's workers (Hur Herald Photo)

Union leaders present Kerry with union-made
Remington shotgun (Hur Herald Photo)

Union leader Trumka says good-paying jobs must
be returned to American workers (Hur Herald Photo)

Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry came out swinging at the UMWs Labor Day Rally at Racine in Boone County, slamming President Bush for his record on jobs, health care and foreign affairs.

"They said last week at the convention that sending jobs abroad is good for America," Kerry said.

Kerry asked the audience in Boone County "What do you think the W stands for? That W stands for wrong. Wrong choices, wrong direction for America."

"I will do what is right for American workers," he said, and bring jobs back to America and "Re-invest in America instead of foreign countries."

Union leaders repeated several times "We need foreign aid and foreign investment in America for America's workers."

Kerry said Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans should be rolled back, saying that they are "wrong and haven't helped the job market," and have only contributed to the trillion-and-one-half dollar national debt, the worst debt ever in history.

He said the Republican's are trying to privatize Medicare and America's public education system.

Kerry questioned Bush's economic policies, pointing to the net job loss of almost one million jobs since Bush took office in 2001. "That's 7 million less than Bush promised when he ran for president four years ago," he said.

"In 2000, [Bush] came right here to West Virginia and promised $2 million for clean coal technology," Kerry said "It never happened."

Kerry said if elected president he will return to Racine for Labor Day, 2005.

Senator John Rockefeller said "People in West Virginia know who is on their side," saying it certainly is not George Bush. Rockefeller said there should be passion about what happens to real people who need real jobs, health-care and education, besides wedge issues that divide.

Rockefeller said he is appalled at the Bush campaign for attacking Kerry for his heroic Vietnam war service and positions he has taken on war, while "Bush and Cheney were dodging the draft."

Senator Jay Rockefeller said "I have never heard such junk
about Kerry, a great American patriot" (Hur Herald Photo)

The senator said he has been fighting to keep health-care and benefits for workers, saying hundreds of thousands have lost them. "John Kerry wants to do good, and will will do good for America's workers."

Kerry said that over 50 million Americans have no health insurance. He said many Republican leaders say it is a privilege, not a right. "I say it is a right!" he exclaimed, and "Something must be done about it and the cost of prescription drugs."

Wes Caudill, a 23-year-miner, said he recently lost his benefits with Horizon Natural Resources which went into bankruptcy, and a judge canceled health benefits for 5,000 workers and their families.

The speakers were armed with recent Census Bureau statistics which show increased poverty rates, decreased median incomes, fewer jobs or jobs that pay little money.

UMWs Cecil Roberts took the stage with the vigor of an evangelist.

"The Republicans are pretty good at raising the Bible, pointing the Bible at us," UMW President Cecil Roberts said before Kerry spoke. "But you know what we do in the Democratic Party? We open it up and see what it says."

Roberts, walking back and forth across the stage, said he was angry at the Republicans for implying Democrats are godless and "can't get to heaven." He said it is a gross misuse of religion for political purposes.

UMW president Cecil Roberts says he and hardworking
Democrats would like to go to heaven too (Hur Herald Photo)

Roberts quoted scripture indicating those who do labor and work hard for the Lord will likely stand a better chance than the billionaire corporate cronies of the Bush administration who have sacrificed jobs and opportunity of American workers, to their own benefit. He told members of the crowd "Greed is one of the seven deadly sins.

He noted that candidate Kerry is "a hunter, and he's not going to take your guns 'cause he loves to hunt." Kerry was presented with a Remington shotgun made by union workers in New York. Kerry held the gun over his head to cheers from the crowd.

It was the 66th year for the labor rally.

A Bush supporter protests at UMW rally (Hur Herald Photo)