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Rallying the troops

Jack Kemp stops in New Haven

By Kavita Mariwalla

"The word entrepreneur is a beautiful word. It's a French word. It's a verb which means to undertake, so let me welcome my fellow undertakers." So began Republican vice-presidential nominee Jack Kemp in his speech to a packed gymnasium at the University of New Haven in West Haven. Bus loads of students arrived to welcome the Grand Old Party candidate as he discussed the impact of the Dole-Kemp economic plan.

Kemp at UNH

Debate over America's failing welfare system and ailing economy has sparked the rhetoric of the current presidential campaign. Bob Dole has attacked President Clinton's record on the economy and is proposing a package of tax cuts and spending reductions, while President Clinton has denounced Dole's plan as "reckless" and insists that the Clinton Administration has produced the "strongest economy in thirty years." In an hour-long speech, Kemp articulated his party's economic plan by addressing such issues as the decline in median family income, capital and labor relations, and a 17 percent increase from two years ago in the number of workers forced to take on two jobs.

Beginning with anecdotes, Kemp endeared himself to the mainly white, middle-class audience and did not lose his composure when a lone protestor holding a Clinton/Gore placard was carried out of the auditorium screaming "free speech, free speech."

"People say capitalism is based on greed. No. Capitalism is based on family. It's based on the future, based on freedom, based on faith...I'll tell you what bothers me. It bothers me that we have laws and legislation and restrictions and a tax code that prevent people from getting out of poverty and getting rich. I do not mean rich in creature comforts, I mean rich in terms of the opportunity to get access to credit and capital and property and education and jobs," Kemp said.

Weaving a web of tales that included minority success stories and the even the story of his own humble beginnings, Kemp set the stage for his economic plan, which calls for a 50 percent capital gains tax cut and a 15 percent tax cut across the board on labor and capital.

"Black-owned businesses went up by 50 percent when we cut the tax rates on capital and labor in the early '80s. Cut the rate across the board. The capital gains tax isn't a tax on the rich, it's a tax on the poor who have no income and who cannot get tax benefits or the capital to launch their own businesses," Kemp said.

After his speech, The Yale Herald had the opportunity to speak with Kemp. When asked what his economic plan would do to stimulate the economies of areas like New Haven and keep high-tech companies from investing abroad, Kemp alluded to his speech. "Every inner-city in America should have a green line around it, and any man or woman who puts their capital in and their savings at risk in a business that hires people off of welfare unemployment roles should qualify for a sealed federal capital gains tax. In other words, companies that keep their business in urban areas will be given significant tax cuts as incentive to do so. This will directly impact the economies of inner cities and with across-the-board tax cuts, people will be allowed to keep the money they make in their pockets," Kemp said.

Kemp also spoke strongly against abortion rights. When asked if his view on abortion differed from that of Mr. Dole, Kemp said, "I am pro-life and have been my whole life. I have three adopted grandkids and thank God every day that a woman carried them to full term and made the right choice to give them up for adoption. I am opposed to delayed birth abortions where the head of the child is kept inside the womb for a few seconds longer and pincers are used to mash the child's brain. That is a crime against humanity. We've disallowed frontal labotamies and I am in no way in favor of such actions."

Several members of the Yale College Republicans who attended the event felt Kemp's appearance was a success, despite the fact that such pivotal and controversial election issues as abortion rights were raised. According to YCR President John Mihaljevic, DC '98, "Women are not single- issue voters. They care about a variety of causes and I do not think they will let one stance sway their opinion because this election is really a multi-issue race."

With 80 active members and over 200 general members, the Yale College Republicans certainly has its hands full. Scott Stewart, DC '98, chairman of the Connecticut Union of College Republicans (CUCR), has taken time off from school to run the state campaign. In his opinion, the most important issue to students across the state is the economy, with an emphasis on jobs, education, crime, and drugs. Mihaljevic said that the crime and drugs issue is especially pertinent in New Haven, where students experience first-hand the problems of urban America.

With elections less than two months away, Yale Democrats and Republicans are both preparing to canvas the campus. At the rally, Yale College Democrats sent a group of Clinton-Gore supporters to hand out pamphlets to the crowds going to hear Kemp. According to an anonymous source, "As people were leaving they told us they had read the informational packets and were really convinced to vote for Clinton/Gore....In the end, it's going to be about people expressing the desire to put a candidate in office who promises to do something for them in the future and who has done it for the past four years."

This Sunday, Yale College Republicans plan to stage a mobile rally that will take Connecticut students to the presidential debate in Hartford. Yale Democrats will coordinate a massive local presence for a broadcast of the debate at Davies Auditorium.

When asked what part the youth vote will play in this year's election, Kemp said, "Very big. That's why I'm here, that's why I'm talking to you, because I think it will make a difference. The youth vote is important to this campaign because the youth is the future and that's why I will continue to address college campuses."

Ahead in @News:
A conversation with Joanne Kemp

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