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Washington D.C: Activists fear losing Kucinich voice

10:59 AM, Nov 22, 2012   |    comments
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WASHINGTON D.C. -- U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich prides himself on both standing up for the so-called "little guy" and championing bigger, global issues.

He's been a loud and consistent voice against costly wars in the Mideast and the dangers of nuclear power.

Activists who share those concerns are worried about losing Kucinich's support and voice in Congress.

Kucinich's last day in office is Jan. 2.

Related story: Washington: Kucinich sprinting to the finish line

He was defeated in the March primary by U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur.

Kucinich believes, "the real question is, what do you stand for?"

His colleage, friend and fellow-outgoing Congressman Steve LaTourette says, "Dennis is a national voice on war and peace and health issues," a conscience.

Kucinich contends that he views global problems as being directly related to issues and problems in the United States.

"America can save the world by saving America and making sure we're the strongest country with the most employment," he said.

He's been a loud and consistent voice against wars in the Mideast, opposing both Presidents Bush and Obama.

Texas Republican, libertarian-thinking, Congressman Ron Paul admires Kucinich's stands.

"Dennis is one of a few I can say has integrity. He would stand up, whether it's a Republican or Democratic President. That's what made him a great Congressman. The American people and Congress will suffer once Dennis is gone," Paul said.

WKYC's Tom Beres and a Channel 3 crew spent time in Washington covering Kucinich's remaining days in office.

During that time, Kucinich and others held a global conference on concerns about the dangers of nuclear energy, focusing on the plant in Fukushima, Japan.

Anti-Nuclear activist Greg Panzica said, "We're going to lose a voice talking about nuclear issues that no one else will talk about."

His critics have faulted Kucinich for spending too much time on global issues and not enough on matters pertaining to his district.

Kucinich cites his role in helping save LTV Steel to become the now-successful Arcelor Mittal plants and brokering a deal to reduce train traffic and noise in the western suburbs as significant local accomplishments.

Kucinich makes it clear he is not going to disappear or become silent.

"I'm in communication with people in the next Congress about the issues I work on. I'm still going to stay involved," he said.

But without a seat and soapbox in Congress, the question is, how effective can he be?

On Wednesday, in the third installment about Kucinich's leaving office, Tom Beres looks at options for his personal and political future.

WKYC-TV

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