Tours of 2005
Arizona Tour, Black Belt Tour Winter, Colorado Tour, Heading Back East Tour, Hard Ride/Route 95 Tour, Montana Tour, Nebraska Tour Summer, North Dakota Tour Summer, North Florida Tour Winter,
North Hoosier Tour Summer, South Wisconsin Tour Summer,
In Search of Lake Woebegon Tour II
Arizona Tour campaign stops:
Welton, Dateland, Gila Bend, Buckeye, Camp Verde, Flagstaff, Gray Mountain, Tuba City, Kayenta
In Gila Bend, Arizona, I met with Chris Kouach. He is from Stockton, California, and is a quite active member of the Green Party. Chris, his wife and their young son had just been visiting San Luis, Arizona -- the southern most point on Highway 95, about 20 miles south of Yuma. (Kouach's wife's parents live there.) Chris said he had just bought some land in San Luis -- to build a library on. He said he hadn't traveled much in his life, and when he saw the poverty in San Luis (many new legal, and illegal, immigrants), he was quite moved and wanted to help. So to help supplement education for new immigrants there, Chris believed an additional library for the town would help tremendously. And the library would have a Green Party twist, so to speak. Some of the sections are to include books on the environment, organic farming, small scale appropriate farming technologies...
We stopped in Tuba City, Arizona (just outside the Hopi Reservation). I stumped with a group of Native American Boy Scouts, Eagle Scouts and their adult leaders. (They were doing a service project on the ground of the Church of Latter Day Saints here.) One of the leaders said: "Finally, this is what I've been waiting for: an 'average Joe' for president." Later that evening, I played in a pick-up game of basketball with some Native Americans at St. Jude's Gym.
In Kayente, Arizona, where a majority of the populace is Navajo, Fr. Jerome Herff said in one week he presided over three funerals, all involving drunk driving incidence in the town. He told me a professional counselor in his congregation did a documentary on trans-generational Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome in the Navajo Tribe as a result of colonialization -- and all the atrocities that went along with that. The theory being a beaten people (through unconscionable "ethnic cleansing") internalize the anger, the shame -- then turn it on themselves, their families. This then leads to heightened levels of trans-generational depression, alcoholism, suicide...
Fr. Herff in Kayente also told me he supports the group: "Feminists for Life." He said the group, which has chapters nationwide, goes into liberal universities like Brown (Ivy League), and so on, to educate young, impressionable college students about Life issues -- so they just aren't getting all their information from Pro-Choice groups.
Black Belt Tour Winter '04 & '05
Black Belt Tour / Winter 2004 - 2005
Alabama: Montgomery, Selma, Demopolis, Boligee Eutaw
Mississippi: Meridian, Forest, Morton, Jackson, Vicksburg
Louisiana: Tallulah, Monroe, Minden
Texas: Marshall, Longview, Carthage, Nacogdoches, Lufkin, Livingston
The Black Belt Region of the Southern United States includes some of the poorest counties in the country. The name referred originally to the thin layer of exceptionally fertile black soil which encouraged cotton farming. However, cotton is no longer "king" here. And according to the internet's Wikipedia Encyclopedia: "The name may just as well now refer to the exceptionally high proportion of African American residents in these counties."
In Selma, Alabama (a flashpoint for the Civil Rights Movement), I told the newspaper here that the courage demonstrated by the marchers on "Bloody Sunday," including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., should not only never be forgotten, but Americans should continue to be inspired to keep fighting battles for equal rights, peace and social justice. --Joe
I told Montgomery, Alabama reporter Erica Pippins that we still had "slavery" in this country. That is, Blacks, Hispanics, Whites... are still 'slaves' to rural and inner city poverty loops. --Joe
In Green County, Alabama, the poorest county in the country, we saw small town downtowns reduced to virtual rubble. Boligee's Gary Burton, 41, told me he was one of the lucky ones here. He said he works at a small cedar mill for "pretty good money" -- $7 an hour. --Joe
Colorado Tour 2005
Cortez, Mancos, Durango, Pagosa Springs, South Fork, Monte Vista, Alamosa, Walsenburg, Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Boulder, Ft. Morgan, Sterling, Julesburg
While in Cortez, Colorado, I interviewed Vietnam Veteran Roland Alksnis. He was in the Army and saw a significant amount of fighting. He said he eventually asked to be discharged. I asked why? He said: "I didn't want to kill people anymore." Note: Our administration's position on the military includes an "Exit Plan" for those who have, say, completed boot camp and realize they aren't going to be able to "kill people" either.
In Durango, Colorado, I talked with Kathy Darnell who had just returned from a humanitarian aid mission to Uganda. She said many people in the rural villages now have AIDS, little food or medicine and they sleep on dirt floors with burlap bags as their beds. I told reporter Jim Greenhill of The Durango Herald that "as president" I'd sell the big bed in the Lincoln "Bedroom, sleep on a mat (which I already do) and send the savings to the people in Uganda.
A front page article in the Cortez (CO) Journal noted I was opposed to gay marriage: "A father brings varying traits to parenting, as does a mother," Schriner said. "For a healthy, well rounded individual, you need both..."
While in Alamosa, Colorado, I interviewed Brian Benke. He participates in a Community Sponsored Agriculture (CSA) project here in connection with El Sagrado Farms. People in the area buy "shares" at the beginning of the season ($450 a share). This entitles them to weekly produce from the farm, which is delivered to a central location in Alamosa every week. Brian said the farm is totally off the grid with its use of wind and solar generated energy. In addition, El Sagrado grows everything organically.
A front page story ran in Colorado's Valley Courier newspaper about our campaign. The story noted that I thought the increased gas prices were actually a "good thing." (There goes a few votes, huh.) The reason I believe it's a good thing is because it might get people to drive less -- which, ultimately, will help reverse global warming.
Heading Back East Tour
Heading Back East Tour 2005
Iowa: Newton, Grinnell
Illinois: Silvis, Geneseo
Indiana: South Bend, Ft. Wayne, Portland
In Newton, Iowa, I interviewed Fr. Ernie Braida who coordinates a Sister Church program with a church in El Salvador. His parishioners regularly help with food, shelter, solar power installations, water purification systems... Our platform calls for much more of this type of help worldwide.
In Grinnell, Iowa, a reporter there asked me about solutions for rural poverty. I said we'd like to see a shift to many more small family farms, using sustainable agricultural practices (organic growing, small technology...) to impact some of this poverty. With more of these types of farms, there will be more people working, more connectedness to the land from generation to generation, and so on. Note: I once told Country Today newspaper in northern Wisconsin that when we lose a small family farm, we lose another part of an integral part of the fabric of this country.
I was interviewed by Geneseo, Illinois's newspaper. The reporter asked what the most rewarding thing has been about campaigning. I said: "Planting seeds." For instance, after a talk my wife Liz and I gave to a youth group in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, about some of the abject poverty we'd seen on various Native American Reservations, the group decided to go on a two-week trip to one of the poorest Reservations in New Mexico to help.
I gave a talk to a "Just Faith" group at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Silvis, Illinois. The group is focused on social justice and they were reading the book: The Powers That Be. An excerpt from the book reads: My friend Jack Nelson Pallmeyer once found himself walking through the streets of Calcutta, so enraged by the poverty that he wanted to scream at God: "How can you allow such suffering!?" Then he came to a painful realization: "In the suffering of the poor, God was screaming at me, in fact at all of us, and at our institutions and social systems that cause and perpetuate hunger, poverty and inequality."
In Ft. Wayne, Indiana, Ft. Wayne Journal columnist Frank Grey asked me how I had changed since I started running for president. I said I had become much more concerned about the plight of the poor, the environment, our kids' futures...
In Portland, Indiana, we met with Patty Johnston, Director of the Pregnancy Care Center there. She recently got a grant to teach about abstinence to local students -- in Portland's Middle School. Is it me, or are kids growing up way too fast these days?
Hard Ride/Route 95 Tour
Hard Ride of Rte. 95 / Summer '2005
Idaho: Bonners Ferry, Sandpoint, Coeur d' Alane, Tensed, Moscow, Cottonwood, Grangeville,Riggins, New Meadows, Council, Cambridge, Weiser, Nampa
Oregon: Jordan Valley, Rome, Burns Junction
Nevada: McDermitt, Lovelock, Fallon, Schurz, Hawthorne, Tonopah, Las Vegas
While our children played a sandlot baseball game with a group of Amish children in Bonner's Ferry, Idaho, I interviewed Elvy Miller. He told me the Amish here were feeling a spiritual calling to help facilitate reconciliation with the Native Americans in the area. Elvy said because of the intense persecution his people felt in Europe prior to coming to America, they felt a special empathy for the persecution the Native Americans have experienced here. (Miller had recently talked at Gonzaga University's "Institute of Hate Studies" about these types of issues.)
I told Janet Hanson, a reporter for an online newspaper in northern Idaho, that our platform was strong on social justice. She asked how so? I said, for instance, that we point out that many American priests, pastors, and so on, sleep in $300 beds, while a majority of those in the Third World sleep on straw mats -- and there is no medicine for the children.
In Cottonwood, Idaho, I interviewed Sr. Carrol Ann Wasmuth, who is the "Forest Manager" for 1,000 acres of forest at the Monastery of St. Gertrude. She said there is a way to log "and keep the woods healthy and sustainable." And that starts with a more conservation oriented mind set. For instance: "Don't chop down a tree, just to make sure we have cheap paper," Sr. Carrol said.
In Grangeville, Idaho, I told the Idaho County Free Press that one of the biggest problems in America is the breakdown of the emotional health of the nuclear family. More and more kids are growing up with moms and dads who are abusive, or seldom there (if at all). As a result, these youth are growing up angry, and violence on the streets, or domestic violence in homes, spikes in the next generation -- as an example.
Further down Hwy 95, we went to a three-day conference at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. The conference was on: "One Vision for a Nuclear Free World." Janet Chisolm, who is the coordinator for the national Episcopal Peace Fellowship, said she was once married to a U.S. military officer who was in charge of targeting 100 Russian cities -- with nuclear missiles. David Robinson, Executive Director of Pax Christi USA, said to truly end the Cold War Era, we have to put down the nuclear weapons and work together as nations with a spirit of openess and tolerance. (To this end, our administration would propose a U.S. Department of Peace.)
I interviewed Dr. David Brooks in Blythe, California. He operates Salude (Health) Clinic here. A significant percentage of Blythe is poor, he said. And Dr. Brooks provides his services through Salude Clinic on purely a donation basis. (He established the Clinic in 1969.) When asked his motivation, he said he believed it was his spiritual responsibility to help the poor.
Montana: (including a "Missouri River Breaks Tour" leg) / Summer '05
Glendive, Circle, Jordan, Sand Springs, Winnett, Grass Range, Lewistown, Stanford, Great Falls, Brady, Conrad, Valier,
Browning, Kalispell, Libby
National Geographic reported that the "Missouri Breaks," on the south side of the Missouri River in Montana, is 300 miles of some of the most population sparse areas of the country. So once again, defying political logic, off we went into "No Man's (or Woman's) Land."
In Brockway, Montana (pop. 20), we campaigned at the Brockway Mercantile Store (post office, mini grocery -- including 5 cent ice cream cones -- clothing, hardware...) The town of Brockway, we learned, has a "free range cow." The story goes that the cow grazes on everyones' yards throughout Brockway. I did notice the mercantile store didn't sell lawn mowers.
While in Jordan, Montana, I talked with cattle rancher Bob Gibbs. He told me current figures show that in this part of the country, on average in a year, it takes 40 acres of pasture land to feed one cow -- unless, of course, you're the Brockway cow.
In Conrad, Montana, I was interviewed by the regional ABC affiliate news. I said we were just an average family from Ohio who stood for common sense.
In Kalispell, Montana, I was interviewed by Channel 18 News. I said our common sense platform calls for more organic farming. I said many farmers are currently pumping all kinds of toxic, artificial chemicals (herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers...) into their fields. In turn, some consumers are developing cancer. I said common sense would indicate that we: stop using stuff that causes cancer!
Nebraska Tour / Summer 2005
Ogallala, North Platte, Gothenburg, Lexington, Grand Island, York, Lincoln, Ashland, Omaha
In Ashland, Nebraska, we saw a marquee in front of St. Mary's church that said: "You think it's hot here..." (Global Warming notwithstanding).
During an interview with the North Platte (NE) Telegraph, I noted that there are 4,400 abortions a day in America -- indicating, among other things, that we've: lost our moral compass.
In Grand Island, Nebraska, I was interviewed by the publisher of the Hispanic newspaper: Buenos Diaz Nebraska. Oscar Erives asked my position on the southern border. I said we had recently gone to Juarez, Mexico, to look at conditions there (read: abject poverty). That is, families were living on $3 a shift factory wages. They live in cobbled together shacks, no electricity and malnourished babies were dying from drinking contaminated water. I said my policy would be to mobilize as much help as possible for people south of the border. And if some needed to come here to get help, then my administration would try to make that as easy as possible for them as well.
In York, Nebraska, a reporter for the York Times News asked me my take on American agriculture. I said agri-business these days in the U.S. can grow at such high volume on huge farms that they can, frequently, undercut small subsistence farmers in Mexico who are selling to the local grocery store. I continued that many see this as a "strong America" that can compete with anyone on the international market. I, on the other hand, said I saw this for what I believe it really is: a social justice travesty.
In Gothenburg, Nebraska, we took the kids to a preserved Pony Express Station. Then during an interview with the Gothenburg Times, I said a key to helping turn the inner cities of America around are focused, sustained mentoring programs for youth.
North Dakota Tour
North Dakota Tour / Summer 2005
Fargo, West Fargo, Jamestown, Bismarck, Mandan, Richardton
In Mandan, North Dakota, we met with Mike Liffrig. He was the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate here in Campaign 2004. Mike's wife, Julie, was a Peace Corps volunteer in central Africa where the average income was a mere $150 a year. Parents seldom have medicine for their children there, she said, while we in America often spend money lavishly on ourselves.
In Richardton, North Dakota, I interviewed the Prioress of the Sacred Heart Monetary. The nuns here installed the first commercial wind turbines in North Dakota in 1994. Sr. Ruth told me North Dakota has the "highest wind potential" of any state in the U.S. (Our administration would propose many wind turbine projects in states like North Dakota, Wyoming, Kansas... See our Energy Policy.)
We did a whistle-stop event in Bismarck, North Dakota. During the event, I talked with Bruce and Paula Kuhnley. They own the Country House Deli here. Paula told us one of the deli policies is: no gossip! She said gossip hurts morale and camaraderie. (At the Broken Spoke Restaurant back in Valley City, North Dakota, a sign read: "I don't repeat gossip. So listen carefully...")
North Florida Tour
Northern Florida Tour / Winter 2005
Lake City, Starke, Gainesville, Ocala, St. Leo, Beverly Hills, Crystal River, Dade City, Tampa
Our family stood in solidarity with a Queen of Peace Church Pro-Life group protesting in front of an abortion clinic in Ocala, Florida. One couple told us they had been coming to pray and protest here every week -- for the past 19 years.
My wife Liz and I did a talk show on WKKO in Ocala, Florida. Several callers said there should be virtually no compassion for illegal immigrants. Liz responded that we had gone to the border town of Juarez, Mexico, on a research trip. Some 200,000 people were living in cobbled together shacks with no electricity, no running water and little food for their children. They worked in multi-national factories here for: $3 a shift. Liz said she couldn't help but think Christ would have "compassion" for some of these parents illegally crossing the border -- so their kids can be fed.
I gave a talk to a Religion Class at St. Leo's College in St. Leo, Florida. I said it was our "spiritual responsibility" to help those in the Third World as much as possible -- not only because they lack adequate food, medicine and shelter -- but because our salvation is intrinsically tied to helping them as well.
North Hoosier Tour
Northern Hoosier State Tour / Summer '05
New Haven, Ligonier, Nappanee, South Bend
While in Northern Indiana, we learned about a group of farmers who are volunteering to farm a common plot of land. Called the "Common Ground Growing Project," this is a Christian initiative to get money to poorer farmers in 25 Third World countries. I told the Advance News newspaper in Nappanee, Indiana, that our platform calls for dramatically stepped up programs -- like this one -- to help the Third World.
In South Bend, Indiana, I talked with Professor Margie Pfeil. She teaches Moral Theology and Social Ethics at Notre Dame University. She said the "elite" of the world are accumulating more and more land, material goods, and so on... while the poor, basically, get poorer. Professor Pfeil said there must be a grassroots paradigm shift where people start developing more of a "spirit of compassion" to move them to share more resources, food and land.
While in South Bend, I also interviewed Jonah Smith for a position paper I was working on about the environment. Smith majored in Ecology at Rutgers University. He said farm runoff (toxic pesticides, herbicides, artificial fertilizers...) in the Mississippi River watershed Region is being transported down to the Gulf of Mexico at an alarming rate -- creating a gigantic "dead zone" in that body of water. Smith's answer: organic farming.
South Wisconsin Tour
Southern Wisconsin Tour: Summer / '05
Beloit, Monroe, Platteville, Prairie du Chien, La Crosse, New Richmond, Luck
During an interview with a reporter for the Monroe (WS) Times, I said our agricultural platform calls for much more organic farming because modern herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers are creating "chemical cocktails" in our systems -- leading to things like cancer.
In Platteville, Wisconsin, I interviewed Bob Metzger. He is the president of the Main street Downtown Revitalization Program here. He said a group of shop owners have moved in above their respective businesses. And the downtown has become, in effect, their "front yard," so they, in turn, are more motivated to fix it up.
On WPVL Radio in Platteville, I said our campaign could be considered somewhat "Retro." That is, we'd like to see a time again when the streets wre safe for kids, media / entertainment was a lot more wholesome, there was less pollution...
During an interview with the La Cross Tribune, I said people in this country think nothing of wearing $200 suits (including politicians), when $200 would feed a small village in the Third World -- for a month.
In Search of Lake Woebegon Tour II
In Search of Lake Woebegone Tour II / Summer 2005:
Winona, Lake City, Red Wing, Hill City, Remer, Whipholt, Bemidji, Lake Itasca, Park Rapids, Detroit Lakes, White Earth
At White Earth Indian Reservation in Northwestern, Minnesota, we met with Winnona La Duke. (Ms. La Duke, of the Ojibwe Tribe, ran as Ralph Nader's vice-presidential candidate in Campaign 2000.) Her White Earth Land Recovery Project here includes a series of initiatives to replant trees, reintroduce sturgeon to the rivers, go back to sustainable, organic farming and other traditional Native ways. Ms. La Duke told me she believes that spiritually we're responsible for "seven generations" in the future.
While at the headwaters of the Mississippi in Lake Itasca, Minnesota, I was interviewed by Minnesota State University's Martin Grindeland. Martin teaches Mass Communications. His class was doing a documentary on Lake Itasca State Park. During the interview, I noted that the Native Americans found it somewhat amusing that the European explorers were all rushing to "discover" the Mississippi headwaters when, well, the Native Americans already knew where it was -- and showed the explorers.
In McGrath, Minnesota, (pop. 65), Marianne Klaus told us that growing up in the 1930s here, her parents had 30 cows, some chickens and a garden. "You could get by on that then," she said. Our administration would like to see it go back to this.