Sunday, July 22, 2007

You Go, Guv!

While I was in Washington in June, I attended the most amazing rally, the launch of the ONE Campaign's ONE Vote 08 initiative. This is an unprecedented bipartisan effort to make global health and extreme poverty foreign policy priorities in the 2008 presidential election.

The ONE Campaign makes this goal clear:
"The next president will take office in a time of great hope: there are effective and affordable solutions that save lives. AIDS drugs can now cost as little as $1 a day. A $5 bed net can keep a child from dying from a mosquito bite. With the force of more than millions of members from all 50 states and a coalition of more than 100 non-profit, religious and charitable groups, ONE Vote '08 will educate and mobilize voters to ensure that the next American president is committed to using "strategic" power to end global poverty and keep America strong.

St. Mark's Episcopal Church on Capitol Hill, the site of the rally, was bursting at the seams, not only with people but with a level of energy that I can only describe as "electric hope." And why not? Several key high-level operatives from both the Democratic and Republican parties have not only endorsed the goals of Vote 08 but have also become involved in trying to make global poverty and disease a key topic of discussion during the presidential campaigns. In fact, Vote 08 is chaired by two former Senate Majority leaders, ex-Sens. Bill Frist of Tennessee and Tom Daschle of South Dakota.

The Vote 08 Camapign is keeping a running tab of comments that presidential candidates are saying about the Millenium Development Goals and The ONE Campaign. Click here to see. And here is a video of the rally on YouTube

Bread members and ONE activists at ONEVote 08 Rally
Many of us in New Mexico are well aware that one of those presidential candidates is our own Gov. Bill Richardson. I was extremely pleased when I learned that Richardson issued an entire press release endorsing The ONE Campaign last week!
I'm sure the Vote 08 Campaign was the major reason why he decided to make the statement. Nevertheless, we are extremely pleased at this decision. I cannot help but say, You GO Guv!

But please don't view this as an official endorsement of Richardson's candidacy. My hope that every single one of the candidates for both parties adopts such a clear position on the global poverty and the MDGs.

Governor Bill Richardson's
Open Endorsement of ONE Campaign

For Immediate Release: 07/11/2007

SANTA FE, NM -- Democratic Presidential candidate Governor Bill Richardson released the following statement today, praising the ONE campaign and calling for a sustained effort to eradicate poverty in the developing world:

"Millions dead from disease in the developing world, mothers who go to bed hungry every night, children who have never seen the inside of a classroom -- this is our burden. Our belief is that we can and must do better.

"I am proud to support the ONE campaign in its efforts to alleviate suffering and transform the developing world. Accomplishing these goals will require an enduring will and an abiding faith in the dignity of every human being. I am confident that we will be successful.

"As a former UN Ambassador and a diplomat, I know that just as poverty-stricken neighborhoods produce crime, poverty-stricken states produce terrorism. Ending world poverty is thus not only a moral imperative, it is vital to the security of the United States. ONE's specific targets -- fighting HIV/AIDS, improving education, providing housing, ensuring the health of mothers and children, and providing safe, clean water -- are critical for the developing world and America alike. Our next President must actively support these goals at home and abroad.

"We need a Marshall Plan for the 21st century. Developed nations, public organizations, and private companies must coordinate a sustained, focused, intensive effort to wipe out the developing world's most pressing problems. The original Marshall Plan lifted Europe from the ravages of war and established the United States as the dominant economic player in the world. I believe that during the coming century, our nation's economic security -- and the security of the world economy -- depends on replicating that success in the developing world.

"I applaud the ONE campaign for beginning the hard work that the world community must collectively finish. Only if we can work together will we have the strength to solve this problem."

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