"We'll Let the People Decide"
Former U.S. Sen. Mike Gravel, who represented Alaska as a Democrat from
1969-81, announces his campaign for President.  ...1 of 4 >
April 17, 2006--After more than two decades out of the public eye, former U.S. Senator Mike Gravel, who represented Alaska in the U.S. Senate from 1969-81, announced his campaign for President of the United States.  Gravel is seeking to advance the idea of using national initiatives to resolve major policy questions.  "We'll let the people decide" such issues as a national sales tax, Social Security, universal health care and declaring war, Gravel said.  He compared the current system of representative democracy and its three branches to "an unstable chair."  "Giving us Americans legislative power will put forth a fourth leg on that stool and make it stable," Gravel said.  "I believe that the remedy for the state of our political alienation is the civic renewal embodied in the 'National Initiative for Democracy,'" he said.  (transcript)

About ten active and well-known Democrats have been positioning themselves for possible 2008 presidential campaigns for months, but Gravel is the first to formally announce.  Noting that he and his wife Whitney took the subway to make the announcement, Gravel observed that "we're starting very humbly."  He plans early trips to New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina.  "And then we'll just campaign slowly.  We're not going to break our pick; we're just going to get out there and do the job properly," he says.  A first priority is "to raise some money so we can open up offices and have a staff." 

Little known, with questionable fundraising prospects, aged 75 going on 76, Gravel faces very long odds of winning the Democratic nomination, even with his very early start.  However, as a former U.S. Senator he can expect a place on the stage as the campaign unfolds in 2007, and he can use that position to advocate for the national initiative. (more)

"The reason why I like this campaign is because it's founded on an idea, an idea that cuts across all political lines and says that there should be a mechanism, a way for the people to express their opinion and have that opinion become the law of the land, become national policy." 
-George Rebh, a supporter from Arlington, VA
Mike Gravel for President 2008
National Initiative for Democracy
Copyright ©  2006  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action