JOHN KERRY SPEAKS AT USF-Andrew Stelzer06/02/04
Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry spent the last 24 hours in the Tampa Bay area; last night he spoke to a rally at the St Petersburg airport, which was open to the public. Today, Kerry made and unscheduled stop at La Teresita, the same restaurant that Republican National Chairman Ed Gillespie visited two weeks ago. This afternoon, Kerry held a panel discussion about national security and emergency responses at the University of South Florida. As he has done for the last several days, Kerry spoke about what he says is the Bush administrations ineffective response to international terrorism.
ACT Ã¢â‚¬Å“The job of the president is an awesome undertakingÃ¢â‚¬Â¦the world has changed, terrorists donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have countries, capitals, rulesÃ¢â‚¬Â¦..I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t believe weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been made as safe as we ought to be in eth after mathÃ¢â‚¬Â¦step donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have apolitical label..This is not partisan, its common senseÃ¢â‚¬Â¦mainstream American values..Ã¢â‚¬?
Kerry said he wants the United States to locate and purchase nuclear material from Russia, where he said much of it is behind rusty fences secured by a padlock
ACT Ã¢â‚¬Å“In Russia today there are 20,000 nuclear weapons, there is enough material to make bombs., and we have retained more materials in the last 2 years than since September 11th. We need to prevent material from falling into the hands of terroristsÃ¢â‚¬?
Claiming that the Bush administration has not created a national anti-terror plan or response plan, and has under funded states efforts to prepare for an attack, which he says will happen no matter what we do, Kerry once again said he will establish a cabinet level position to plan a response to a terrorist attack, and he made several promises about changes to the United States international role as it relates to nuclear weapons.
ACT Ã¢â‚¬Å“Nothing I'm saying is an attempt to alarm, but itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a matter of leadershipÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬?
ACT Ã¢â‚¬ËœI will lead a global effort to stop bioterror, this administration, I will strengthen the bioweapons ban, enforce bioweapons ban, international lawÃ¢â‚¬Â¦I will, I willÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.
There were four panelists that spoke after Kerry; Peggy Hamburg is with the nuclear threat initiative; she said that America is not prepared for bioterror attacks, which was made clear when 5 people were killed in 2002 by anthrax.
ACT Ã¢â‚¬Å“For those of us who grew up in another era.Ã¢â‚¬?
Dr Jacqueline Catani, from the center for biological defense, said that while Florida is more prepared than many states to respond to an emergency because of experience with hurricanes, there still needs to be a focus on strengthening local resources.
ACT Ã¢â‚¬Å“Security is a national issue, response is a local one. Threat assessment is local, detection is local. Lab conformation is local. Medical and health response is local.
And Dr Thomas Mason is from the center for disaster management ad humanitarian assistance at USF, said that everyone down to local family physicians will have to be trained and made part of a local emergency plan for communities to have an effective response to any attack.
ACT Ã¢â‚¬Å“All of these persons who are medical people in their regular life, will role play, give naval person answer
To reassure the audience that he understood the need for investment in local emergency services, Kerry talked about his commitment to staffing local police and fire departments.
ACT Ã¢â‚¬Å“Two thirds of firefighters are understaffedÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.I created COPSÃ¢â‚¬Â¦priorities..These are the choices we have to make.Ã¢â‚¬?
ACT Ã¢â‚¬Å“Prior to 9-11 there was no serious thought of threat..So money has come in, but that states have been suit in their ability to deliver normal healthcareÃ¢â‚¬Â¦policy choices.Ã¢â‚¬?
Michael Eosco from the International association of EMTs and Paramedics, talked about why his organization endorsed Kerry.
ACT Ã¢â‚¬ËœWe looked for a leader thatÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Kerry then took several questions from the audience, which ranged on topics from the Falon Gong to healthcare.
ACT Ã¢â‚¬ËœSenator Kerry if you are elected president how will you help the uninsured? The very first thing ill do is a healthcare plan for all AmericansÃ¢â‚¬Â¦(goes on about his plan).Ã¢â‚¬?
Kerry was also asked about his choice for vice president; he responded that there was a private decision he will make, and he will keep an open mind. Kerry heads to Missouri, which along with Florida, is considered a swing state in the Novembers election.