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Posted: 9/14/2004 12:58
Last Updated: 9/15/2008 11:09

Feingold 'Taking the High Road'
Trae Dorn
Originally Appeared in The Flip Side Volume 2, Issue 1 - September 15th - 29th, 2004
Senator Feingold Visits the UWEC Campus

Senator Russ Feingold's campaign stopped by the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire campus on Sep. 2, as he appeared at a 9:00am rally in the Davies Center's Tamarack room. The room, which was filled with both students and non-students alike, broke out in applause as the Senator entered. The stop was a part of the Senator's "High Road Challenge" tour, which began on Monday, Aug. 30 in Green Bay. On Sep. 1, it continued to Milwaukee, Madison, and Wausau, and continued on to La Crosse on Sep. 2, after his UW-Eau Claire appearance.

During his speech, the Senator said, "It's unfair to the people of this state; they deserve a campaign based on issues," and this really is the point of the High Road Challenge, as the majority of Republican advertising has been focused on character assassination.

The focal issues of the Senator Feingold's visit, and really the entire reelection campaign, are health care reform and keeping jobs in Wisconsin.

Senator Feingold stated that health care problems are "strangling the economy," as businesses are being forced to cover the rising costs of health care. Feingold has proposed a state-based health care reform, which would have the federal government consulting with each individual state to find what would best work for their region. Senator Feingold, who has been criticized for his vote against the recent Medicare Bill, responded simply with, "I have this weird habit: I read these things first." The Senator questions why preventing the government from negotiating prices with drug companies is supposedly a bad thing.

Feingold also explained his recent vote against the Australian-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement, which would ban importation of safe prescription drugs from Australia and damage Wisconsin's dairy industry. He also opposes the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), which would extend free trade to 34 countries in Central and South America, much like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) did to Canada and Mexico. NAFTA has already accounted for a net loss of 23,000 jobs in Wisconsin alone, and CAFTA would more than likely further continue that trend.

The Senator also spoke about his lone vote against the USA PATRIOT Act, saying it needs to be "fixed, not rubber stamped." Citing various flaws in the act, he said that within his experience, the vast majority of Wisconsin voters he has spoken to oppose the PATRIOT Act. Feingold has helped propose the SAFE Act, along with other cosponsors which include conservative Republican Senators Craig, Crapo, and Sununu. The SAFE Act would continue to protect the United States against terrorism, while still protecting the Constitution.

When Senator Feingold was asked about the importance of the college student vote, he stated that the votes of eighteen to twenty-four year-olds "could change the world." While many politicians are discounting young voters, Feingold believes the youth vote in a swing state like Wisconsin could be the "wild card" of this election.

In the end, the Senator's message was clear. Whether his opponent will be Darrow, Michels, Welch, or the unlikely Lorge on November 2nd*, the focus of the Feingold campaign will stay with what matters most: Sticking to the issues, and keeping himself on the High Road.

[* Press time for this issue was several days before the September 14th Primary]

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