Washington Outlook

Bush, Gore Send Spokesmen to Meet With Large Urban County Caucus

By Larry Jones
July 31, 2000

County delegates from the nation's 100 largest counties packed a meeting room to capacity at the Charlotte Convention Center on July 17 to hear representatives from the Republican and Democratic Presidential campaigns. Prince George's County (MD) Executive Wayne Curry, chairman of the National Association of Counties Large Urban County Caucus, welcomed Stephen Goldsmith and Edward Kilgore to the group's meeting and invited them to share their candidates views on a variety of national issues.

Stephen Goldsmith, former Mayor of Indianapolis and domestic policy adviser to the presumptive Republican Presidential nominee, Texas Governor George W. Bush, told county delegates that while many people have benefitted from the nation's strong economic growth, Governor Bush believes more can be done. With projections that the federal budget surplus will exceed $4 trillion over the next decade, Governor Bush feels strongly that the American taxpayers deserve a significant tax cut, Goldsmith said.

Among Goldsmith's other points:

  • Bush also wants to do more to help people who have not benefitted from the economic expansion.

  • Governor Bush believes it's the role of government to help people build up their own wealth and he proposes to use tax credits and other incentives to encourage them to do so.

  • Education is a high priority of Governor Bush and he intends to invest more in education, particularly Title I education programs to assist children from low income families. He believes the federal government should provide increased financial assistance to schools but it should not mandate how local school systems spend the money. However, he feels local school systems should be held accountable to high standards.

  • Governor Bush believes in setting high standards for clean water and clean air and that local governments should have a role in developing a solution to local environmental problems.

  • On federally funded programs operated at the local level, Governor Bush believes federal assistance should flow down to faith-based groups that provide services to the public.

Edward Kilgore, a representative from Vice president Gore's campaign, told county delegates that voters will have a clear choice between Vice President Gore and Governor Bush in the fall election. He pointed out that the Clinton-Gore administration inherited a government with record budget deficits and adopted the kind of fiscal discipline that not only balanced the federal budget but is expected to produced record surpluses over the next decade. He also explained that the administration has been successful in promoting global peace. More Americans are enjoying prosperity and Kilgore said Gore is best prepared to lead our nation forward with continued peace and prosperity.

While Vice President Gore supports providing taxpayers a tax cut, he believes more should be directed to middle-income earners and not the rich as Governor Bush proposes to do. Also, Vice President Gore would not change Social Security to allow individuals to invest a portion of their benefits in stocks as Governor Bush proposes. Instead, he would establish a new separate program offering federal incentives to encourage individuals to to supplement their retirement income, Kilgore said.

On education, Vice President Gore supports spending $115 billion over the next 10 years on initiatives to reduce classroom size to help students learn more. He does not support vouchers like Governor Bush. Vice president Gore is supportive of life-long learning and believes it is essential for maintaining a strong economy.

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