Robin Weirauch (D-Napoleon) would be the first woman ever elected to Congress from the 5th Ohio Congressional District. Here part of a message from Janet Carson, vice-chair of the Geauga County Democratic Party, indicating that Women's Caucuses across the state are mobilizing to elect Wierauch, and offering an opportunity to phone-bank in Geauga County on Monday night:
Robin has been steadily gaining favor in the district ....she's well known, popular and there's no incumbent to defeat so this is a unique opportunity to pull out all the stops and capture a seat in the United States House of Representatives for our team.
Judge Bill O'Neill and I campaigned with Robin this weekend along with hundreds of other volunteers from across the state including Governor Strickland, Sherrod Brown and Congressperson Marcy Kaptur. If Ted Strickland, Sherrod Brown and Marcy Kaptur can roll up their sleeves for Robin, we can too!
Women's Caucuses across Ohio are helping Robin by making calls to uncommitted voters and going door to door to get out the vote. The Geauga Women's Caucus will host a phone bank at the Geauga Democratic Party HQ Monday night, Dec. 10th from 6pm to 8:45pm. This is the night before the critical vote so please bring your cell phone and join us as we call voters in the Toledo area and give Robin the final push needed to take the seat. All are welcome to participate. I hope you'll join me on Monday night. Please email me if you can make it. Thanks for all you're doing!
E-mail Janet at janet-at-insurancediversified-dot-com.
Just so you know who we are trying to keep out of Congress:
Candidates for the 5th congressional district see alternative energy as the future for Northwest Ohio. But while one sees global warming as a reality, the other questions its scientific validity. ...
[State Rep. Bob Latta] is not certain that global warming is real and isn’t just a myth being promoted by the media. The scientific community has not unanimously decided that the warming trend isn’t just a natural, cyclical phenomenon, he said. “I think we need a full-scale academic debate on the issue,” he said.
Latta is not in favor of any stricter environmental standards for pollution, since those types of regulations send companies overseas to other nations with looser standards.
The Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune has a nice article today on Robin Weirauch (D-Napoleon) meeting with local military veterans at VFW Post 1148. The photograph shows her with WW II Veteran Peter Rectenwald.
According to the district profile at CQ Politics, there are 59,717 civilian veterans in the 5th Congressional District. The daughter of a military family (born at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton), Weirauch pledges to fight for increased funding for the Veterans Administration and accuses opponent State Rep. Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) of letting down America’s military veterans and their families:
Weirauch said Latta in 2005, while serving as a state representative in Columbus, voted against legislation increasing from $20,000 to $100,000 the death benefits for families of Ohio National Guard members killed while on active duty.
She accused Latta and other Republicans of claiming to support the military while failing to provide money where it’s needed. “The time for empty rhetoric is over,” she said. “To me, supporting our troops doesn’t end when they return from battle." ...
Appearing with Weirauch at the VFW was Pat Walter, whose son is serving his fourth tour of duty in a combat zone with the U.S. Air Force. Walter said that the repeated overseas deployments are tough on her son and his family:
“It’s beginning to take it’s toll,” [Walter said].
There are posts up at Glass City Jungle and Swing State Project about new expenditures by the RNCC and DCCC in the race. The RNCC reported to the FEC another $45,620 for issue ad placement and another $5,700 for a poll, ad production, and phone banks. The DCC has reported $15,400 for mail services and media production.
The RNCC has spent at least $380,547.60 on this race, the DCCC at least $172,718.60. Another DCCC media buy may be in the works, since part of its most recent expenditure appears to be for making a new ad. The amount being spent by the RNCC is astonishing, given its cash-poor financial condition and the purportedly "safe" character of this traditionally Republican district.
"I've heard that there are internal polls that show a 3-point race," said Ohio Democratic consultant Dale Butland. "It would be shocking. If that district goes Democratic, then there would literally be no district in this state that would be safe for Republicans."
A Republican insider with knowledge of the district said the special election "is easily within a 55-45" percent margin. "I think the DCCC knows that, otherwise there's no way they would have put the money into it."
This information is consistent with Gov. Strickland describing a poll that showed the race is "winnable," and with an off-the-record comment to me by a state representative last week.
Dr. Mike Zickar (Wood County Democratic Party chair), Robin Weirauch and Rich Cordray
Some nights it's just good to be one of the Democratic Party faithful.
Tonight was the Wood County Democratic Party's Annual Keystone Reception in Bowling Green, right in the heart of OH-05. Ohio Treasurer Richard Cordray and Fifth Congressional District candidate Robin Weirauch were the speakers.
The turnout was great (and during such bad weather!) the fellowship was warm and the speeches were thoughtful and spirited. Rich said that we had the best food and the most intelligent crowd of any events in recent memory. Which is true. You couldn't turn around without bumping into a distinguished professor...
Robin was VERY energetic and upbeat. She had tons of energy --which is astounding given the hours and the effort that she is putting into her campaign. She spoke about the army of staff and volunteers working into the wee hours tonight at her offices.
Rich Cordray was thoughtful, articulate and engaging. The guy is a "rock star." I admit that I've admired Rich from the first time that I met him. (Heck, it's hard not to!) He talked about how both he and Ted Strickland had lost three races in a row at one point in their careers, but that persistence and faith kept them moving forward. And, well, things have turned out pretty well, you could say.
We had a moment to chat about how Rich gave State Senator and OH-16 candidate John Boccieri his start in government as an intern in the legislature.
Pretty tough to top that. Let's put it this way, if I were a GOP office holder in Ohio, and I was eligible for retirement, I'd start checking the balance in my 401(K). 'Cuz it's not gonna be much fun for those guys after 2008.
As the Plain Dealer is reporting, the non-profit health care advocacy group Families USA has just released an alarming report on health care costs confronting Ohio families:
While much national attention has focused on the uninsured, there is an almost invisible but growing crisis among insured families, as rising health care costs devour an ever-growing portion of their pre-tax income. In Ohio alone, 2,195,000 people under the age of 65, 86.2 percent of whom are insured, are in families that will spend more than 10 percent of their pre-tax family income on health care costs in 2008 ...
In addition, there are 589,000 Ohioans in families that will spend more than 25 percent of their pre-tax income on health care costs in 2008.
Health care is the top domestic concern among voters, almost even now in voters' minds with the Iraq War, and this report spells out how "more and more families with insurance are affected by rising health care costs, and, for many, the burden of these costs has become too great to bear." This is an important reminder that it is not just the uninsured who are victimized by the health care crisis in this country, but the insured as well. The numbers of Ohioans in the two categories described in the quoted passage have increased by about 20% since 2000.
Contributing to the health care cost burden on insured Ohioans are rising insurance premiums, employers increasing the share of premiums that employees must pay, and employers offering insurance that covers fewer services or charges higher out-of-pockets costs.
The MCDAC Blog commented yesterday and Jessica Wehrman reports in the Dayton Daily News today on a new poll of Ohioans by SurveyUSA, indicating that Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) leads three out of four major GOP presidential contenders in head-to-head matchups, although her lead over Huckabee is within the 3.9% margin of error:
SurveyUSA also polled Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), who did not fare as well, although three of these comparisons are within the margin of error:
The big news in this poll is the fifteen point gain by Huckabee and the eight point gain by McCain in matchups with Clinton from the last SurveyUSA Ohio poll taken three weeks ago. At that time (11/12), Clinton led Huckabee 54% to 37% and was tied with McCain at 46%. Huckabee is the new flavor of the month in the GOP race, and McCain has picked himself up off the mat.
Having been found by the Ohio Elections Commission to have lied about his opponent in the GOP special primary, State Rep. Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) has now resorted to lying about hard-charging special general election opponent Robin Weirauch (D-Napoleon).
A Latta press release yesterday announcing his new TV ad stirring up fear of illegal immigrants contains this whopper (emphasis added):
Latta concluded, “There is a clear difference between myself and my opponent, Robin Weirauch on the issue of illegal immigration. Robin supports taxpayer funded healthcare for illegal immigrants (HR 676). Hard working Americans have a tough enough time paying for health care, the last thing our government should do is give health care to those who have broken our laws.”
Wrong! HR 676 is a measure sponsored by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), but
Weirauch does not support it -- in fact she opposes any government benefits for illegal immigrants. As reported in the Toledo Blade today in a story titled "Latta, Weirauch take same stand against illegals," Weirauch's spokesman set the record straight:
"Robin Weirauch and Rep. Latta agree that we must secure the borders and make sure that illegal immigrants aren't rewarded for breaking the law - that means absolutely no amnesty, no driver's licenses, and no benefits for illegal immigrants," [Communications Director Brad] Bauman said.
State Sen. John Carey (R-Wellston) has announced a press conference for 1 p.m. this afternoon at the Ohio Statehouse to announce the introduction of legislation to "make reforms to Ohio law governing labor disputes between teachers and school boards." You won't find the details in the press release; you have to go elsewhere to learn that Carey's idea of "reform" is to take away the right to strike, leaving teachers unions with only arbitration to resolve labor disputes.
Police and firefighters are subject to that restriction, but there the rule is justified by public safety in the face of dire emergencies. Carey's attempt to justify this assault on the collective bargaining rights of teachers by criticizing substitute teachers and suggesting that teachers might be injured on the picket line are incredibly lame.
The teachers unions are going to scream bloody murder about this affront, as they should:
"We strongly oppose any weakening of Ohio's long-standing collective-bargaining law which has made vast improvements in the quality of educators and educational services in schools across the state by allowing teachers to advocate on behalf of children," said Michele Prater, spokeswoman for the Ohio Education Association.
"So this so-called reform will undermine a law that provides a powerful voice for students."
Prater said Ohio's collective-bargaining law has created a framework in which strikes are fairly rare and usually short.
Make no mistake, this measure is not about teachers' personal safety or the risk of unqualified substitute teachers. This is about reducing the power of teachers to bargain collectively, period.
State Sen. John Boccieri (D-New Middletown) has been selected by the Progressive Patriot Fund, the political action committee of Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), as a featured Progressive Patriot. Candidates are periodically selected for this honor by a vote of PAC members. Winners are featured on the PAC's web site and receive a campaign contribution. Ohio candidates supported by the group in 2006 were Gov. Ted Strickland (D), Sen. Sherrod Brown (D), and Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner (D).
In an email message from the Boccieri campaign announcing the selection, the candidate reports that he has hired Ian Walton, described as "an exceptionally capable and talented campaign director with more than a decade of experience in local, state and national campaigns." Boccieri also describes success in the legislature on a measure to support Ohio veterans:
I am honored by the bi-partisan passage of my "Military Injury Relief Fund" bill, a tax check-off program which gives Ohioans an opportunity to help our injured soldiers transition back into civilian life and assist with their medical expenses. Just a few weeks ago, I was proud to stand with Governor Strickland to present the first check to Sgt. Eric Marshall.
The message ends with an expression of support for 5th District special election candidate Robin Weirauch:
As you may have heard, Robin Weirauch is running strong in Ohio's 5th district congressional race to represent the working families of Northwest Ohio. The special election is Tuesday, December 11th. Call her campaign headquarters at 419.842.4338 or visit www.robinweirauch.com to help in the closing days.
Mark Naymik confirms in the Plain Dealer today that Mayor Tom O'Grady (D-North Olmsted) will officially join the 10th Congressional District race tomorrow. O'Grady's desire to run had been signaled on Politics 216 a month ago and Jerid wrote about his impending announcement on BSB yesterday. Naymik indicates that the O'Grady met with city councilman Joe Cimperman (D-Cleveland) last Saturday to try to narrow the field, obviously without success.
Naymik also reports that Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland) indicated on a questionnaire submitted to the county Democratic party that he would be running for re-election in 2008. While not as rock solid as an official public announcement from the candidate, this development tends to tamp down speculation that Kucinich will retire.
O'Grady grew up in Cleveland and became a resident of North Olmsted in 1970. He attended St. Ignatius High School and has an undergraduate degree from John Carroll University as well as post-graduate degrees from John Carroll and Harvard University. He was an officer in the U.S. Army (retired 1993) and taught in the Cleveland public schools (1997-98) and North Olmsted public schools (1998-2005). He was elected to two terms in city council before being elected Mayor in 2005.
SNOW DAY !!!!!
Bonnie the Dog says "WOOF" to Stella and Sammy. "Come back and visit again soon!"
We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming... (I need a break. It's been pretty intense lately.)
The Ohio Democratic Party's Todd Hoffman has a post on the front page at DailyKos, spelling out how folks can help get Robin Weirauch (D-Napoleon) elected to Congress in the 5th District:
* Virtual phonebanking, from anywhere you are: Use your own phone, call when its convenient for you. Email Jason at phonebank4robin-at-gmail-dot-com.
* Volunteer here in Ohio: To learn more about canvassing and phonebanking in Ohio, send an email to WeirauchGOTV-at-ohiodems-dot-org.
* CONTRIBUTE TO THE CAMPAIGN: Click here to donate through ActBlue. Even a small contribution helps!
The new TV ad for State Rep. Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) is all about fighting illegal immigration:
It seems to me that the problem in the 5th District is corporations closing down factories and sending the jobs to other countries, not illegal immigrants competing for jobs here. Whatever. This may be an interesting preview of how the immigration fear card will play for the GOP in 2008. (How timely: Simon Rosenberg of NDN argues in a blog post today that "the overwhelming evidence in the last several elections and in all the polling data indicate that those who believe [illegal immigration] has the capacity to be the defining issue in American politics are simply overstating their case.")
UPDATE: Although the TV ad doesn't mention Weirauch, Latta's campaign has been claiming that she supports paying government benefits to illegal immigrants. This is absolutely not true, and the Ohio Democratic Party has issued a statement calling them on it:
“Robin Weirauch absolutely opposes benefits, amnesty, and driver’s licenses, and for illegal immigrants. Robin believes we must secure our borders and ensure that illegal immigrants aren’t rewarded for breaking the law. Anything else that Representative Latta and his friends in Washington say about her position is a shameless attempt to distort her record,” said Doug Kelly, Executive Director of the Ohio Democratic Party.
“The Ohio Ethics Commission has already found Representative Latta guilty of lying, so why would anyone believe what he says now? The last thing Ohioans need is another career politician who plays fast and loose with the facts in order to score cheap political points.”
This is an enormous district geographically, including all or part of 16 counties, but it has no major metropolitan areas. According to the 2000 census there are 630,730 residents, of which 326,668 are active voters. The most populous county is centrally located Wood County (121,065 residents), home of Bowling Green State University in its largest town (29,636 residents).
The district is 94% non-Hispanic white, 99% American-born, 59% married, and the median household income is $41,701 (only 1% of the households are above $200,000). District residents are 49% urban and 51% rural.
This district has the highest concentration of blue collars workers of any in Ohio. The work force is 46% white collar, 40.5% blue collar, and 13.5% service industries. Only 15% have undergraduate college degrees, only 5% have graduate degrees. About 8% are below the poverty line.
There are about 60,000 registered Democrats (20% of all voters) and 97,500 registered Republicans (30%), leaving about half of the voters as independents. It is rated R+10.1. There hasn't been a Democratic Congressman in this district since 1938, and there has never been a woman in Congress here. George Bush won 61% of the vote in both 2000 and 2004; Kerry managed only 38%.
City Councilman Joe Cimperman (D-Cleveland) will announce today that he is running for the 10th Ohio Congressional District seat of veteran legislator and repeat presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland). Kucinich has not yet officially committed to seeking re-election. Also announced in the race are Iraq War activist Rosemary Palmer (D-Cleveland) and repeat candidate Barbara Anne Ferris (D-Cleveland), who was endorsed by the Plain Dealer in 2006. Three suburban mayors have been mentioned as possible contenders as well: Dean DePiero (D-Parma), Thomas O'Grady (D-North Olmsted), and Martin Zinotti (D-Parma Heights).
Cimperman is the first declared Democratic challenger to Kucinich with experience as a legislator. He has served as Councilman for the downtown 13th Ward for ten years. His ward includes the St. Clair Superior, Payne Sterling, Midtown, Downtown, Tremont, Ohio City/Near West, Duck Island, and Forest City Park neighborhoods of Cleveland. He grew up in the St. Clair Superior neighborhood and was a social worker on the west side when he was first elected to office in 1997.
Lots of developments in this race. Here is the attack ad against State Rep. Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) being run by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee:
The ad connects Latta to unpopular former GOP governor Bob Taft and the recent Coingate scandal by pointing out that Latta received $1,000 from convicted Republican power-broker Tom Noe. It also hammers Latta on the finding of campaign misconduct against him by the Ohio Elections Commission in the GOP primary, including his own lawyer's concession at the hearing that Latta's campaign was "misleading" and dealt State Sen. Steve Buehrer (R-Delta) a "low blow."
The Ohio Democratic Party is also attacking Latta with its new web site aWholeLattaLove.com, decked out in creepy hot pink and black, which features negative TV ads from the GOP primary on the sidebar and text that slams Latta for voting for higher taxes, increased drivers' license fees, and the biggest state budget ever; holding investments in oil companies while receiving contributions from them; and receiving Noe campaign money. It also makes a bizarre and pointless joke about the name "Latta" and drinking fru-fru lattes.
Well, this is fun, isn't it? What a difference a few hours can make. (That's an inside joke for Jeff's benefit.)
This is Dr. Mike Zickar, the new chair of the Wood County Party speaking at the rally at Pipefitters Local 50 on Saturday night:
Next is Tom Joseph, president of Local 50 welcoming everyone and getting ready to introduce Robin:
Here's Judge Bill O'Neill who took time off from his own campaign in Oh-14 to support Robin:
Here's Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur from OH-09 showing her enthusiasm:
And finally, after a LONG hard day in some brutal cold weather, here's Robin Weirauch rallying the faithful ("Can I get an amen to that?" Robin, yes you can!)
Seth Michaels, Presidential Website Coordinator for WorkingFamiliesVote08.com, has posted a story on the AFL/CIO Now Blog that includes this new video clip by Robin Weirauch (D-Napoleon) calling on working families for support:
In the video clip, Weirauch calls on the 75,000 retirees, active union members, union household members, and Working America members in the 5th District to send GOTV letters, distribute work site leaflets, and engage in election day field work. She also describes her own union background (she was an IBEW member in her first job, her husband helped form the Napoleon Police Officers Association, and their families include other union members as well), and she expresses her support for the Employee Free Choice Act, for trade policies that protect workers and the environment, and for affordable, high-quality health care for all.
Gov. Ted Strickland (D) campaigned across the 5th Congressional District on Saturday, and on Sunday Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Avon), the other superstar from the 2006 Dream Team, campaigned for Robin Weirauch (D-Napoleon) in Fremont:
Brown came to Fremont Sunday as a rally for Weirauch was held at the IBEW union hall on East State Street.
Brown along with other supporters went door-to-door in an attempt to gain support for Weirauch, [Barb] Tuckerman [director of the Sandusky County Board of Elections] said.
While some supporters were venturing out and walking door-to-door, others were at the union hall making phone calls. ...
"She's a dedicated person for the job," [Sandra] Wise [a Sandusky County Democratic Party member] said. "She's just like us and will take our concerns to Washington."
Sandra's husband, Roger Wise, also a member of the Democratic party's central committee said, "I think the idea that the governor and senator were willing to come to Fremont, and the 5th District on behalf of Robin, demonstrates that they think we can win this."
The article also states that turnout at the Strickland/Weirauch rally in Fremont on Saturday atternoon was excellent: "The rally lasted about three hours and about 125 people attended."
Here are photographs from Saturday's campaign events in Tiffin and Norwalk (click image to see a larger version):
I drove from Bucyrus to Tiffin with the governor of Ohio right behind me in a big black SUV the last part of the way. By the time I found parking and made my way to the parade route, the parade was already underway and I had missed State Rep. Bob Latta, who reportedly walked behind a float with Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer on it. Weirauch and Strickland walked with members of Local 7-A of the Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics and Allied Workers International Union, who had just learned on Tuesday that the company expects to close its plant in the area. The mood of these workers is grim, as reported in the Tiffin Advertiser-Tribune here and here. Strickland and Weirauch met with union members after the parade and talked about how current trade deals put domestic companies at a disadvantage. Strickland commented that he has visited a factory in Mexico where workers take home $38 per week. Weirauch said the the U.S. must pursue fair trade policies that protect jobs and don't favor moving plants out of the country.
At 9:30 a.m. on Saturday in Bucyrus Central Square it was freezing cold. About sixty people gathered to hear Gov. Strickland and Robin Weirauch, to be followed by door-to-door canvassing. There were quite a few big home-made signs like this one:
While waiting for the candidate and the governor to arrive, I enjoyed meeting blogger and City Councilman Frank Szollosi (D-Toledo), who was collecting signatures for the paid sick leave initiative. Weirauch and Strickland each arrived to applause and walked through the crowd greeting and shaking hands before speaking. Here is the audio of the entire presentation (9:43):
I also shot video of part of Strickland's comments and all of Weirauch's (8:08) which can be viewed on the sidebar today or at YouTube thereafter. The following is a recap of Weirauch's remarks.
Weirauch started by mentioning that she talked to a mother in the district whose son has served four rotations in Iraq, and said that "it's absolutely time to bring our troops home safe, honorably and soon." We can "really shake things up in Washington on December 11th," she said, because "business as usual is not going to lead us to a better future." She said that she learned from her mother who raised Weirauch and two brothers by herself that "change takes courage" and "there is always a better way, but you have to be open to change." She said that there are "enough career politicians in Washington already," and identified herself instead as an advocate, "someone who has a history of fighting for what matters most to you and me."
Gov. Ted Strickland (D) made five campaign appearances with 5th Congressional District candidate Robin Weirauch (D-Napoleon) on Saturday, the first three of which I attended. The early morning rally in Bucyrus is nicely covered by
Kimberly Gasuras in the Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum, the candidates marching with supporters in the mid-morning Tiffin Christmas parade is reported by Joshua Boak in the Toledo Blade, and the early-afternoon walk along Main Street in Norwalk is described by Mary Lisa Boose in the Norwalk Reflector.
The Toledo Blade also reports on a televised appearance by Weirauch and State Rep. Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) yesterday in which they engaged in a "cordial" debate. Reporter Joe Vardon writes that they "took similar stances on immigration and energy policies, differed on the war in Iraq, and did not say who they support for president in 2008." Weirauch called for U.S. troops to be brought home from Iraq honorably, safely, and soon, a consistent campaign theme:
"The military has done everything that's been asked of them and they've done it extremely well," she said. "Their work is completed, essentially, because now the diplomacy and the political solutions and the strat-egies for the region have to be brought in."
Latta, on the other hand, said that "President Bush's troop surge is working," and that lawmakers in Washington must "listen to the generals."
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has pulled out all the stops on the 5th Ohio Congressional District race, pouring over $150,000 into a TV ad attacking State Rep. Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green). Meanwhile, contributions to Robin Weirauch (D-Bowling Green) are continuing at a very strong pace, with FEC filings showing $29,100 contributed today (including $5,000 each from the SEIU and the New Jersey-based Shore PAC), $15,100 contributed yesterday (including $5,000 from the United Steelworkers and $2,000 from Rep Barney Frank (D-MA)), and $13,300 contributed last Wednesday.
The Latta campaign reported receiving $69,500 last Friday but nothing since. Believe me, the DCCC and other contributers are making a real race out of the 5th Congressional District special. It's a sprint to the finish, and Weirauch has plenty of cash to carry her across the finish line.
Update from Earl 6:42 AM: Both campaigns have their new ads running during the local news on Toledo TV this morning.
Latta's ad touts his pro-business stance. It's as if he was still running in a GOP primary because that message is dog that won't hunt with independent voters. It's clearly aimed squarely at the most affluent part of the GOP base.
Last week I had a chance to talk to Carol Roe, Chairperson of the Ohio Nurses Democratic Caucus. Her organization actively supports 5th District congressional candidate Robin Weirauch (D-Napoleon), a former Emergency Medical Technician whose family includes several nurses, and 14th District candidate Bill O'Neill (D-South Russell), a Registered Nurse in the pediatric emergency room at Hillcrest Hospital in Mayfield Heights.
In addition, the ONDC has sent questionnaires to the Democratic presidential candidates and has received responses from two. Former senator John Edwards (D-NC) and Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM) each submitted responses that spell out their detailed visions for universal, affordable and quality driven health care, their position on federal legislation to enable states to enact comprehensive health care reform, and steps they would take to deal with the shortage of nurses and to improve working conditions for nurses. The organization is to be commended for seeking out the candidates' positions on these issues, and kudos to Edwards and Richardson for responding -- their responses are definitely worth reading.