Washington D.C.: Kucinich sprinting to finish line in Congress

10:59 AM, Nov 22, 2012   |    comments
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WASHINGTON D.C.-- Congressman Dennis Kucinich sometimes sprints through an underground parking garage to cast his votes on Capitol Hill.

And that's how he is finishing his 16-year career in Congress -- going all-out.

Kucinich, 66, was defeated by Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur in the March primary.

WKYC's Tom Beres and a Channel 3 crew spent the better part of two days in Washington, shadowing Kucinich's activities.

Related story: Washington: Activists fear losing Kucinich voice

He is definitely not just going through the motions as he approaches Jan. 2, his last day in office.

"I am giving 100 percent all the way..I owe that to the people I represent," he said.

His jam-packed schedule included Congressional committee hearings, press conferences for a variety of causes, multiple media interviews, constituent visits and nonstop interaction with his staff.

Kucinich has 16 pieces of legislation he sponsored or co-sponsored still pending. He is working on drafting nine others.

He claims he is over his defeat by Kaptur.

"If my district were intact, I'd be in the next Congress. Well guess what? It wasn't," he said.

He offered some thoughts on milestones of his public career.

He stands by his decision as a young mayor not to sell Muny Light, putting Cleveland into default.

"I was the only one who have taken on that battle...My decision has saved Cleveland consumers hundred of millions of dollars," he said.

He restates his commitment to world peace and against Mideast wars for draining resources that could be used on America's problems at home.

"On the big issues, I was right on the money," he said.

He reflected on his two ultra long-shot bids running for President and claims he ran thinking there was a chance he could win.

"When you're in there, it's not some kid of game you play. You go for it," he insisted.

He claims he ran to give his constituents a voice in debates about national priorities.

"I'm still a product of Cleveland's neighborhoods and that kind of common sense could be valuable to the world," he said.

Kucinich and outgoing Republican Rep. Steve LaTourette are political opposites, but very close friends.

LaTourette is voluntarily leaving office because of his disgust with partisan political gridlock.

He says their departures, plus that of Rep. Betty Sutton who lost a re-election bid, will diminish Northeast Ohio's clout in Congress.

"This is a big blow...the west side of Cleveland will lose a lot," he said.

Kucinich has 16 pieces of legislation he's sponsored or cosponsored still pending and nine more proposals he's still drafting.

Privately some Democrats complain that while Kucinich may be "busy" in Washington, he was largely missing in action during the campaign, offering little help to the President and Sherrod Brown.

In two more segments about Kucinich's departure, Tom Beres will look at how progressive groups Kucinich supports are worried about losing his voice in Congress and what are his personal and political options for what he'll do next.


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