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Kucinich's stands draw an audience.

Byline: Jim Feehan The Register-Guard

Connie Brown wears her politics on her lapel.

The 86-year-old retiree, who lives in the Cerro Gordo community east of Cottage Grove, proudly wore her Dennis Kucinich lapel button at Sunday's rally in Eugene for the long shot Democratic presidential candidate.

"He stands for what the Democratic Party has always stood for: health care for everyone and jobs for those willing and able to work," she said.

Brown and about 800 diehard Kucinich supporters gathered at Lane Community College on Sunday to witness the Ohio congressman's quixotic bid for president.

Kucinich concedes that U.S. Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts has enough delegates to sew up the Democratic nomination. He said he is most interested in pushing the party toward adopting some of his positions. Progressives should not be shunned by the party, Kucinich said.

"The direction of the Democratic Party has yet to be decided and that's why the Oregon primary is so important," he said.

That message resonated with Brown, a community, political and peace activist since 1977, when she and her late husband, Robert, moved to Cottage Grove from California.

Brown became an anti-war protester while her husband worked as an engineer for the aerospace industry during the Vietnam War. She later discovered that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had more than 20 pages of documents about her anti-war activities. In 1969 she became a Quaker, joining the Friends Church.

Kucinich's opposition to the war in Iraq and his opposition to the Patriot Act mesh with Brown's Quaker sensibilities, she said.

"Our government should have asked why we have this terror (after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks)," Brown said.

In 1992, Brown was a convention delegate for former California Gov. Jerry Brown. In 2000, she voted for Green Party candidate Ralph Nader because she didn't see much difference between the two major parties. "In 2004, I want to be a delegate for Dennis in Boston (site of the Democratic National Convention in July)," Brown said.

Scott Burgwin, 52, of Cottage Grove said Kucinich is the first Democratic presidential candidate he's been enthusiastic about since U.S. Sen. George McGovern ran in 1972.

"Kucinich is a true progressive, a man of the people who speaks with clarity," said Burgwin, who supported Nader in 2000.

Wearing a Kucinich button over her No War in Iraq T-shirt, Lane Community College student Rachel Bozaan, 19, of Eugene said she was impressed with Kucinich's unwavering progressive ideals. "He hasn't shifted to the middle like most Democrats," she said.

Kucinich said he is willing to encourage voters to stick with the Democratic Party instead of supporting Nader.

Following his speech in Eugene, Kucinich traveled to Roseburg Sunday night. He ends his four-day Oregon tour today with appearances in Ashland and Medford.

DENNIS KUCINICH

Age: 57

Religion: Roman Catholic

Education: Bachelor's and master's degrees from Case Western Reserve University, 1973.

Political life: Cleveland city councilor 1970-75, and 1983-85; Democratic nominee for Congress 1972; Cleveland clerk of municipal courts 1975-1977; mayor of Cleveland 1977-79, state senator 1995-97; member of Congress 1997-present.

Campaign receipts: $9.6 million as of Feb. 29.

Top contributors: United Steelworkers of America $6,000; Borders & Borders (a Kentucky law firm) $6,000; University of Illinois $5,250; Sheet Metal Workers Union $5,000; Progressive Choices PAC $5,000.

On the issues: Favors a universal health care system similar to Canada's; advocates turning Iraq over to the United Nations and bringing U.S. troops home within 90 days; would pull out of free-trade agreements with other countries; would repeal USA Patriot Act.

Campaign Web site: www.kucinich.us

Sources: The Associated Press, Congressional Biographical Directory, Federal Election Commission, Center for Responsive Politics.

CAPTION(S):

Dennis Kucinich addresses about 800 people Sunday at Lane Community College.
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Title Annotation:Politics; The Ohio congressman says he is pushing the party to adopt progressive positions
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Mar 29, 2004
Words:628
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