Valley News Today [Shenandoah, Iowa]

Edwards has clear vision for America

Over the next few months, newspapers all over the country will offer their arguments about which political candidates deserve your support and why.  With the war in Iraq still raging and domestic problems like health care and poverty now at the forefront of our collective conscience, America's next President will be faced with some of the most important decisions of our time.  We've had the fortune to meet several of this year's candidates and in some cases visit with them one-on-one about their dreams for our country.  After carefully reviewing each candidate, we offer the following endorsements:


There are many reasons why we're supporting John Edwards as the Democratic nominee for President - not the least of which is his proven ability to unite voters from a variety of cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Unlike his Democratic challengers, Edwards' support doesn't come from a single demographic, but rather from all demographics.

Simply put, he represents the best of what this country has to offer.

If given the opportunity, we believe the former senator from North Carolina will work tirelessly to fight for the little guy as he has done for the past 30 years.

As the only Democratic candidate with rural roots, Edwards knows first hand about the daily trials and tribulations of the working poor. As a result of his upbringing, he has by far the most specific, most progressive and most far-reaching ideas to improve our nation.

Born the son of a blue collar mill worker, Edwards learned about the importance of hard work and perseverance from his parents, who taught their son to roll up his sleeves and fight for the things he believed in.

That tenacity helped push him to become the first member of his family to attend college - eventually earning a law degree from the University of North Carolina.

For more than two decades, Edwards dedicated his career to representing the little guy. He earned a name for himself as a lawyer by his willingness to stand up against - and ultimately defeat - the powerful insurance industry and their armies of lawyers.

His passionate advocacy for people like the folks who worked in the mill with his father earned him respect and recognition across the country.

Twenty years later, he's still championing the cause of the little guy by being an outspoken advocate against poverty.

In the 2004 campaign, Edwards brought the plight of the working poor to the front of our American conscience by speaking out about the "two Americas" - one for people at the top who have everything they need and one for everybody else who struggle to get by.

Edwards' powerful message continues to resonate with voters all across America - particularly in Iowa where he has spent the past four years crisscrossing the state to bring his message to each of our 99 counties.

As a result of his time spent here, we believe he has developed a true understanding of what matters most to us.

Among other things, he has vowed to create a true universal health care system that covers everyone in America, brings down costs, and creates more choices and security.

And if Congress won't cooperate, he has promised to do everything within his power to take away their own government-provided health care.

John Edwards is a family man who, if elected, will be the first president since John F. Kennedy to bring young children with him to the White House.

And we think that's a good thing.

Each morning when he rises, he will have his children, Jack and Emma, to remind him how important each decision he makes really is to our future generations.

Edwards isn't afraid to speak out against the political machine that has corrupted our system for years and has pledged as a candidate to refuse contributions from Washington lobbyists - a personal decision that is an important first step towards true campaign finance reform.

In an unusually strong field of contenders, Edwards is by far the least polarizing of the other top tier candidates and will clearly provide Democrats the best chance of defeating the Republicans next November.

Vote for John Edwards on Jan. 3.

Copyright © 2007 Southwest Iowa News. All rights reserved.  Reprinted by permission of the publisher  (David Gustafson 12/07/07 e-mail).

In response to questions, publisher David Gustafson provided the following observations:

    We also issued an endorsement of Gov. Huckabee.  While I admit it's unusual for a newspaper to endorse more than one candidate, I felt it was important for us to name both a Democrat and Republican going into the Jan. 3 caucus - especially with this many candidates to consider.  We plan on issuing another endorsement next fall leading up to the General Election.

     The Valley News Today is one of the smallest daily newspapers in Iowa with readership of approx. 6,000 and is the oldest continously-operated business in Shenandoah dating back to 1882 as the Shenandoah Post.  Our readership base lies primarily in Page, Fremont, Mills and Montgomery counties.

     It's true that it is the first time in recent memory that the Valley News Today has published endorsements of any kind.  As I wrote in our endorsement of Sen. Edwards - with the war in Iraq still raging and domestic problems like health care and poverty now at the forefront of our collective conscience, America's next President will be faced with some of the most important decisions of our time.

     As a result, I felt like it was our responsibility to endorse the candidates we felt would offer the most hope to our readers - the rural residents of southwest Iowa.

     After meeting with Senators Edwards, Obama, Biden and McCain - as well as with Governors Richardson and Romney and researching the other candidates who have not made local appearances, we felt like the decision was clear.

     Our ad-hoc "editorial board" consists of myself and my managing editor, Alan Cross.  We both have spent the last several weeks informally talking to our readers and area business leaders to get their perspective, but ultimately, I made the final decision.