Kucinich Kicks off Presidential Campaign in Bay Area
By Adeel Iqbal
UC Berkeley


Dennis Kucinich with members of the community in
Bay Area

Saratoga, CA: Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich kicked off his San Francisco Bay Area tour Saturday, April 7 at the home of Taj and Qamar Noori, both pioneers of the area’s Muslim community.
Kucinich, who represents Ohio’s 10th district in the House, opened his address by encouraging the celebration of diversity and culture as a means to attain peace. About 50 local residents, many of whom were Muslim, attended. “It is so important to remember the first motto of the United States,” Kucinich said. “E Pluribus Unum. Out of many, one.”
With his wife Elizabeth at his side, he said building community through the sharing of personal stories is the first step toward cultivating understanding and appreciating diversity. He spoke of his humble beginnings in Ohio. By the age of 17, he had lived in 21 different places “and a couple cars” as his parents had trouble locating a landlord who would accommodate their seven children.
Kucinich pitched himself as the “no-strings-attached” candidate, citing a decision to refrain from pursuing campaign funds from large investors.
“Congressman Kucinich can’t be bought,” said Sharon Jimenez, who is with the Kucinich campaign.
The candidate briefly touched on current controversial topics such as diplomacy with Iran, the Palestine-Israel conflict and immigration reform. Iran, he said, was not more than a communication problem and that he would have diplomatic relation with Iran if elected President.
“The first thing you do not do (in a conflict) is put your gun on the table. In truth, our foreign policy is handled that way,” he said. “We need to demystify international relations. It’s how you should treat your neighbor.”
When questioned on Israel, he made it clear that “the big road to peace is through Jerusalem.”
“We need to be compassionate about Israel’s right to survive as well as economic and social justice for the Palestinians,” he said. “We need a President who understands that unfortunately it’s hard to talk about peace when you have a 25-foot wall.”


Community members

Walls, he said, are also not the solution for immigration problems in the United States.
Although Kucinich said the flow of people in and out of the country needs to be regulated, a wall between the North and the South is the complete antithesis to Reagan’s call in the 1980s for the Soviet Union to tear down the Berlin Wall between East and West Germany.His message resonated with many attendees.
“It is my privilege to stand with someone whose values are close to my own,” said event organizer and community leader Samina Faheem Sundas, who introduced Kucinich. “He told me five years ago that he is a candidate for all, not just for a single group. And he has kept that promise by saying no to the USA Patriot Act, being a strong voice against the war and promoting a US department of peace and nonviolence.”
Los Altos resident Kevin O’Reily said he appreciated Kucinich’s frankness. “What you see is what you get. That’s what he’s about and it doesn’t change,” he said.
But while attendees offered praise of Kucinich and his stances, most were cognizant of the candidate’s uphill campaign battle. “Although he might not be thought of as the number one candidate, he does bring some issues to light, like bringing our troops home and having more ethical and moral diplomatic relationships with other countries,” said UC Irvine student and Fremont native Atif Kamran.
After his stopover in the Bay Area Saturday, Kucinich headed up the coastline to the Pacific Northwest before spending the middle of the week in Hew Hampshire.
He is slowly adding to his “Be one of a million” campaign to garner $50 each from one million people across the country.

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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