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Democrats Speak Out on Economic and Social Issues on Day 2 of Convention - 2004-07-27

In Boston, Democratic party delegates are into the second day of their national convention to nominate Senator John Kerry for president. The lineup of speakers Tuesday includes members of Congress, city mayors, governors, and labor leaders, party veterans as well as a number of new voices.

The issues are wide-ranging, from abortion rights and health care, to U.S. foreign policy, including the war on terrorism and Iraq.

Democratic party officials have designed the convention as a strong endorsement of Senators John Kerry and John Edwards, and a platform to display new party talent.

One of those new voices is Lois Murphy, a candidate for Congress from Pennsylvania who says John Kerry represents change for the better.

"We need new leaders in Washington who have the right priorities," she said. "It's wrong to create a massive deficit that hurts our economy, takes money from our schools and health care and endangers social security."

Diana DeGette, a member of Congress from Colorado, criticizes what she calls political self-interest by the Bush administration on the issue of stem-cell research.

"Some would rather put politics before sound science, science that can and will improve American lives," she said. "We must provide the government support necessary for stem cell research instead of heeding the call of political extremism over scientific exploration."

Ron Reagan the son of the late president, is also to speak to the convention in support of stem cell research on Tuesday evening.

Congressman Earl Blumenauer says John Kerry and John Edwards will reverse damaging decisions made by the Bush administration on everything from the economy to the environment.

"In Oregon,and around the country, we struggle daily with the critical issues from Iraq, to jobs, from health care to our crumbling infrastructure to the ocean of red ink," he said. "These are challenges that John Kerry understands and can handle."

With many of Senator Kerry's hopes for the White House depending on his ability to attract minority voters, a number of Hispanic and African-American speakers are on the agenda.

Later, most eyes will be focused on a keynote address by Barack Obama, an African-American state lawmaker from Illinois running for a seat in the U.S. Senate, and one of the most articulate new voices in party politics.

Jesse Jackson, Jr. is a Democratic lawmaker from Illinois who had this remark about John Kerry and John Edwards.

"Kerry, Edwards, they are the team to defeat the right-wing," he said. "They are the right team for new rights, so we may fulfill our nation's single proposition, that all men and women are created equal!"

Other speakers Tuesday include James Hoffa, president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and other Democrats who fought Mr. Kerry for the nomination - Congressman Richard Gephardt, and former Vermont Governor Howard Dean.

Mr. Dean's forceful positions during the campaign on the economy and Iraq, not to mention his internet-based fundraising methods, are credited with pushing other Democrats to speak out more strongly against President Bush, and bringing new ideas to the party.