WASHINGTON – Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, addressing the Campaign for America’s Future’s “Take Back America” conference, today called on progressives to push for election reform, pension reform and to increase their outreach to the evangelical Christian community.
“We ought to do everything we can to make it easier for more Americans to vote. The Republicans are all about suppressing the vote. Two voting machines if you live in a black district. Ten voting machines if you live in a white district. I think every single American ought to be able to vote…There is something wrong with some voters having to wait on line for eight hours in Florida to cast a ballot,” Dr. Dean stated.
Dean continued to promote the theme of the “Take Back America” conference, where progressives are pushing their positive agenda to change America. According to the “Take Back America” poll released last week by the Campaign for America’s Future, 55 percent of Americans believe America is on the wrong track and are ready for the positive agenda progressives have developed to increase investment in education, attain energy independence and promote affordable healthcare for all Americans.
Dean called for progressives to renew their effort to energize their base, while reaching out to the evangelical community which he says is tired of being pandered to on the two narrow issues of abortion and gay rights, while the bigger issues of pulling people out of poverty and protecting the environment are ignored. He also called for major pension reform initiatives to protect the retirement savings of ordinary Americans.
“For decades, guaranteed pensions have been the bedrock of retirement security for millions of American workers and their families, but today, that system is under siege. The Labor Department estimates that in 2004, the under-funding of pension plans grew to more than $450B; and despite this, over 60 percent of companies take advantage of outdated accounting rules to avoid making annual contributions to their employee pension plans. That’s just wrong,” Dean stated.
Dean called for portable and independently managed pensions to protect Americans from corporations using out-of-date accounting rules to drastically under-fund workers’ pensions.
“When Bill Clinton was President, with a Republican Congress, we made it possible for you to keep your health insurance when you leave your job. It’s about time this Republican-controlled Congress made it possible to take your retirement benefit from job to job,” Dean told a cheering crowd of over 2,000.
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