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Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Out-of-touch Kennedy no role model


Your voice: Jack Espelage

I read DeWayne Wickham's syndicated column regularly in the Enquirer. After reviewing his column "Bush rewriting reality to suit his own outlook" (Jan. 25), I am afraid that we don't see things the same at all. Take our views on Sen. Ted Kennedy, whose "weary reaction" of shaking his head to the president's State of the Union speech Wickham cites as an example to follow. Even though his views are different from mine, I don't hate the senator. But I believe he is far out of the mainstream. Ted's views are focused on going backward.

Compare him to his brother, President John F. Kennedy. The first election I was eligible to vote in was 1960. I voted for Jack Kennedy because he was bright, statesmanlike, looking to the future, energetic, appeared to have strong personal values - and I didn't trust Richard Nixon. With all of his revolutionary ideas, Kennedy lowered taxes, which kicked off a wonderful economic growth period. I graduated from college in 1961, and with the expanding economy and my preparation, I took advantage of the many opportunities.

I see the opportunities that way today as I volunteer 20 to 30 hours a week helping small businesses start up and grow. I see optimistic and diverse people of many different financial means taking advantage of current opportunities. My wife and I like the lower taxes we received this year. I believe the drug bill recently passed and supported by AARP will help my medical plans cover me even better. I am concerned about the deficit, but I believe in the short term it's the right thing to do. In the longer term I want the lower taxes maintained and tax simplification. I want the government to cure the deficit by assuring a strong economy (low taxes, tort reform, etc.) and by cutting out pork and waste. President Bush must start vetoing some spending bills.

I believe the action taken against Iraq was right and leads in the right direction against a very complex problem. I also believe the terrorist threat will go on for a long time. There is no quick and easy solution, but the inaction of the previous 20-plus years was a losing strategy.

Contrast this with Ted Kennedy's views on the country's needs. He is out of touch. If Wickham wouldn't refer to Kennedy as a reliable and representative source for what we should consider, he and I would have a start on commonality of views.

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Jack Espelage, a retired business executive in Northern Kentucky, is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati's colleges of engineering and business. He chairs the area chapter of SCORE, a nonprofit group that provides free counseling to new and developing small businesses.

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