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    Supporting the Tobacco and Liquor Industry

    I have been criticized over my support of the tobacco industry. Some would like you to think my support was nothing more than bowing to the demands of an industry that employs thousands of voters.

    In truth, such rhetoric is just another attempt to confuse the truth by implying improper motives on my part—so let me set everyone straight.

    Yes, I support the tobacco industry, yet I deplore smoking. And I support the liquor industry, yet I condemn drunk drivers. And I support all of our businesses small and large, even those feeding Americans too much salt, sugar, and fat.

    According to encyclopedia.com, the U.S. tobacco industry—growing, manufacturing, distribution, marketing, and sales—has contributed to the wages of over 650,000 American workers. The liquor industry employs nearly 4.6 million jobs for U.S. workers.

    Supporting free enterprise, both big and small, to market products legally sold in our country, is something I applaud.

    And unless we are prepared to outlaw such products—which we know won’t work now any better than it did in Prohibition – and are prepared to lose about $15 billion in revenue from the federal excise tax on cigarettes and $25 billion to the states from the beverage alcohol industry, we should address the real issue: how do we educate Americans about healthy lifestyles and moderation without trampling the Constitution and the benefits we all derive from capitalism.



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    Women’s Rights, Foreign Aid, and Meaningful Reform

    In some societies, women can be owned, bought, sold, traded, and collected as if they were commodities. Women are sold into slavery, stoned to death for merely expressing what they felt in their hearts, and raped without consequence to the attacker.

    This is happening every day in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America, and Europe. It is the real war on women, and it’s been going on for far too long. America has condemned such beliefs, and none of us—Democrats or Republicans—condone such behavior. In fact, we condemn it.

    Yet it continues.

    Our solution so far has been unsuccessful: throw money and governments and organizations. That has become America’s way to solve complicated problems. It has not, and will not, work. We need to take a deeper look and try to understand why we have such difficulty finding solutions. If that means considering some hard choices that include withdrawing support from regimes denying women their equal rights, then we need to make those choices.

    This violence must end. I will not support a government full of hypocrites. Our foreign aid support must be coupled with meaningful reform.

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    Women and Public Office: Why Aren’t There More?

    According to the latest U.S. Census, women make up more than fifty percent of our population. That has been a consistent statistic for years. And there is no reason to believe that there will be any change in the near future.

    Indeed, most believe the gap will increase. In 2004, women voters outnumbered men voters by more than 8.8 million. So why aren’t more women being elected to office?

    Women control more investments than do men. They have more shareholder votes. And yet, our country’s corporations continue to be dominated by men. I’m not suggesting we need an immediate reversal with the majority belonging to women. There is no reason to believe such a reversal would create a better environment for growth and freedom.

    But it is clear that we need to get closer to equality than we are now—a lot closer. That’s something I think every woman in government can agree upon, and every woman in America can support. We can do that with our votes at the polls and at shareholder meetings.

    And if we accomplish that, I think everyone—Democrats, Republicans, men, and women—can agree that our hopes to end the bigger war on civilized society will be within our reach.