McAlester (OK) News-Capital & Democrat

Monday February 2, 2004

Clark is best for McAlester and America

Here in McAlester we not only know a strong, stable military is important to our nation, we work every day to ensure our armed forces are well supplied.

Right now, workers at the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant are under attack.  Moves are under way to privatize government jobs at the plant.

That's a bad idea and during his visit to McAlester on Saturday Wesley Clark, a former four-star Army general and decorated combat veteran, promised that if he is elected president, the government jobs at McAAP will be safe.

We think that's reason enough to cast a vote for Clark on Tuesday, but there are others.

More and more area families are losing ground as jobs disappear, fees and taxes rise and the economy continues to struggle under the weight of record budget deficits.

Clark's has a three-part plan to help those of us in rural America compete and thrive in a changing world.

"Today, our rural economy is struggling.  Many of our young people have t leave town to find work, and once they're gone, they don't come back.  As a result, schools and hospitals are forced to close, and businesses simply shut down," Clark said on Saturday.

The general says he will devote $100 billion over two years to enhance job creation through investment in local infrastructure and job creation tax credits.

Clark says he will work to cut taxes on working families.  In fact, under the Clark tax plan families making up to $50,000 a year will pay no income tax.  That's a solid tax plan which will help real people, not just the privileged few.

The Clark plan calls for a simplified process for applying for federal grants.  That could be a big benefit to rural Oklahoma, which now uses expensive quasi-governmental organizations to apply for grants. Under the Clark plan, communities could do away with "middle men" who eat up funds better used for real improvements in our communities.

Clark understands that our local schools are vital to the health of our communities and he says he will protect them from consolidation.  He promises help from the federal government to ensure schools have the funds they need to stay open.

Gen. Clark deserves area Democrats' votes.  He's earned them.  He has been tested under fire.  He has worked to bring people together and succeeded.  He has a plan to put America's economy back on solid ground.

"I know we can be a greater country.  I know we can change the country starting right here in McAlester, Oklahoma," Clark said on Saturday.

We urge Democrats to vote for retired Gen. Wesley Clark for president of the United States on Tuesday

Copyright © 2004 Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.  Reprinted by Permission (Matt Lane 03/15/04).

Matt Lane, Editor: "The decision to endorse was made by myself and our senior editor following three conversations with Gen. Clark. Two by telephone and one in person. We also spoke with Joe Liberman and John Edwards. We tried to contact the other candidates but had no luck."