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|U.S. Representative from Ohio's 10th Congressional District|
From: January 3, 1997 - Present
|Successor||Incumbent (no successor)|
|53rd Mayor of Cleveland, Ohio|
|Predecessor||Ralph J. Perk|
Dennis Kucinich is one of the most liberal members of Congress; he was a candidate for the Democratic presidential primary election in 2004 and 2008. He served as mayor of Cleveland, Ohio from 1978 through 1980, when the city became the first US city to default since the Great Depression.
In 2012, Ohio lost two seats in census redistricting and that included Kucinich's seat. On Super Tuesday, he battled for the new district with longtime Toledo Democrat Marcy Kaptur and lost.
- 1 Career
- 2 Political Positions
- 3 Democratic Primary Campaign
- 4 Criticism
- 5 See also
- 6 External links
- 7 References
Kucinich was born in Cleveland in 1946 and attended local Catholic schools and Cleveland State University. He received a master's degree in Speech and Communications from Case Western University in 1974. At the age of 23, Kucinich began his political career by running for Cleveland City Council.
He won the election for City Council, and in 1977 ran for mayor of Cleveland and won the election, becoming the youngest person ever to lead a major American city. Kucinich married Sandra Lee McCarthy, whom he divorced in 1986. When he took over the Mayor's office in Cleveland, he received a city in disastrous economic conditions, all of which would be compounded under his administration. Under his administration, Cleveland would be the first city to go bankrupt since the Great Depression. Kucinich refused to grant a major bank in Cleveland, Cleveland Public Power, request for the city to sell one of their municipal utility into the private sector. The disagreement between the bank and the mayor led to greater economic problems, causing the city to become the first to city to fall into default since the Great Depression. Mayor Kucinich appointed a 19 year old into a key position of office and also placed a 24-year-old, with less than a year experience as a stockbroker, in office as city finance director. Kucinich also got into a fight with the popular Cleveland Police Chief, whom he fired on live TV for insubordination. The Cleveland Police Department later went on strike protesting the Mayor's budget cuts. The public outraged at his policy, gave him the nickname of, "Dennis the Menace,” and called for a recall election. In 1978, as Kucinich threw out the first pitch wearing a bullet proof vest, nearly all 75,000 fans at the opening of Cleveland Municipal Stadium booed him. The recall took place and Kucinich barely survived the recall, by only 236 votes.
In 1979, the disgraced mayor ran for a second term, but lost to a Republican, George Voinovich. With his political future looking bleak, former Mayor Kucinich moved to Los Angeles. He returned to Cleveland in 1994. Here he had success with his business, Kucinich Communications, a company that produced industrial videos and brokered media time for clients. Kucinich ran for State Senator in 1994, and he won the election. He held this position for two terms. In 1996, Kucinich won a race for United States Congress and has been re-elected every two years since. In his last congressional election he received 66% of the Ohio vote. In 2004 Kucinich sought the Democratic Presidential nomination but lost. Kucinich currently is serving his 6th term in Congress, and second time as Democrat presidential primary contender.
The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to defund ACORN, 345-75 on September 17, 2009. Seventy-five Democrats including Kucinich stood with ACORN and voted no. This despite their nationwide attention related to voter fraud and recent revelation of ACORN's ties to prostitution including child trafficking and defrauding the IRS.
Kucinich's position on abortion has been somewhat of a “flip-flop.” During Kucinich's first three terms at congress he compiled a consistently pro-life record; this earned him a 95-percent approval rating from the National Right to Life Committee in 2000. Kucinich stated that he believed that “life begins at conception.” However, in 2003, he changed his position, stating that he was “pro-choice” and promised before an Iowa campaign crowed in 2003, "as president, I would protect that right [to abortion], and I would also make sure that appointees to the Supreme Court protected that right." The President of the National Abortion Rights Action League, Kate Michelman, stated that, “[Kucinich] understands that this [abortion] is a fundamental freedom. Do I think that's sincere? Yes I do." His support of abortion seems to correspond directly with the amount of campaign funding he gets from the abortion lobby.
Like the majority of the Democratic primary candidates, Kucinich supports a type of socialized universal healthcare. He co-sponsored “Medicare for All Act”, with Congressman John Conyers, this bill would create a universal healthcare system. The healthcare system would create a government program that would eliminate private health insurance, and buy prescription drugs in large amounts, the estimated cost for Kucinich's plan would cost the United States about $2.2 trillion a year. until 2013.
Kucinich has said that he supports diplomatic foreign policy but not militaristic. He stated in an NBC News Democrat debate that, “I [am] opposed [to] the idea of using war as a matter of policy. I don't think it reflects America's greatness..” He calls Bush's war on terrorism an excuse for aggressive action, similar to the position held by John Edwards. He said that, “Because the fact of the matter is that the global war on terror has been a pretext for aggressive war. As president of the United States, I intend to take America in a different direction, rejecting war as an instrument of policy, reconnecting with the nations of the world, so that we can address the real issues that affect security all over the globe and affect our security at home: getting rid of all nuclear weapons, the United States participating in the chemical weapons convention, the biological weapons convention, the small arms treaty, the landmine treaty, joining the International Criminal Court, signing the Kyoto climate change treaty”.
War in Iraq
Unlike many of his Democratic opponents, Kucinich has opposed the War in Iraq since its beginning. He is a member of the Get out of Iraq Caucus. He has proposed a cut-n-run strategy in which the United States withdraw from the Iraq war and a United Nations task force move in. Kucinich's bill would, as he stated, “call on the international community to provide peacekeepers and security forces that will move in as our troops leave. But we can’t do that until we determine we’re going to end the occupation. And we will do that when we stop the funding.”  In 2007, Kucinich said that former Vice President, Dick Cheney, should be impeached for ‘lying about Iraq.’ 
In March 2010, Kucinich sponsored a bill in the House for the complete withdrawal of American forces within 30 days, arguing, "Unless this Congress acts to claim its constitutional responsibility, we will stay in Afghanistan for a very, very long time, at great cost to our troops and to our national priorities." Five Republicans including Ron Paul supported Kucinich's efforts, but the measure was defeated 356-65.
On March 18, 2011, in response to President Obama's warlike declaration of intent against Libya, Representative Dennis Kucinich issued the following statement:
“While the action is billed as protecting the civilians of Libya, a no-fly-zone begins with an attack on the air defenses of Libya and Qaddafi forces. It is an act of war. The president made statements which attempt to minimize U.S. action, but U.S. planes may drop U.S. bombs and U.S. missiles may be involved in striking another sovereign nation. War from the air is still war.
“It is also worth noting that the President did not comment upon nor recognize that the Libyan government had declared a ceasefire in response to UNSC Resolution 1973. It was appropriate for the UN to speak about the situation. It was appropriate to establish an arms embargo and freeze Qaddafi’s considerable financial assets. But whether the U.S. takes military action is not for the UN alone to decide. There is a constitutional imperative in the United States with respect to deciding to commit our U.S. armed forces to war.
“It is hard to imagine that Congress, during the current contentious debate over deficits and budget cutting, would agree to plunge America into still another war, especially since America will spend trillions in total for the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and incursions into Pakistan.
“The last thing we need is to be embroiled in yet another intervention in another Muslim country. The American people have had enough. First it was Afghanistan, then Iraq. Then bombs began to fall in Pakistan, then Yemen, and soon it seems bombs could be falling in Libya. Our nation simply cannot afford another war, economically, diplomatically or spiritually.”
On Jun 15, 2011: "With regard to the war in Libya, we believe that the law was violated," Kucinich said in a prepared statement. "We have asked the courts to move to protect the American people from the results of these illegal policies." Kucinich and nine colleagues took their case to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, where they filed a lawsuit.
Kucinich does not support free trade agreements such as NAFTA. He has stated that as President, one of his first acts would be to end NAFTA. He also said that he wants to end other trade agreements such as the World Trade Organization and GATT. He says that free trade agreements must end because of United States citizen's jobs are lost by the trade agreements, and also the lack of worker right provisions in the agreements. In replacement of the multilateral trade agreements, Kucinich supports bilateral trade. Kucinich was one of the supporters of the Occupy Wall Street-movement.
In 2003, Kucinich was given an F by the National Rifle Association in regards to gun control, indicating a pro-gun control record. Kucinich voted no on prohibiting suing gun makers and seller for gun misuse, he also voted no on decreasing gun waiting period from three days to one.
Energy and Oil
Kucinich support the raising of CAFÉ standards from 27.5 mpg to 40 for cars and 40 mpg for SUV's. He voted no on opening ANWR for oil drilling. He supports the use of renewable sources to replace fossil fuels, he stated, “I would lead this country on a new energy initiative. In the same way that President Kennedy decided to bring the academic and spiritual resources of this country to reach the moon, I intend to have a journey to planet Earth about sustainable and renewable energy. By the year 2010, I'll call upon Americans to assist in creating a program, not only of conservation, but of moving to renewable energy, away from oil, nuclear and coal, and towards wind and solar and geothermal, green hydrogen and biomass.”
In 2004, Kucinich said that, “We also ought to agree that there ought to be amnesty for anyone who has been working in this country and would otherwise be denied rights.” He got a 0% rating from the Federation for American Immigration Reform, mostly because of his ardent support for a path for citizenship for illegal immigrants. Kucinich also does not support the building of a fence between Mexico and the United States border. He also voted against a bill that would help in hospital's reporting of illegal alien's treatment.
Democratic Primary Campaign
On December 11, 2006, Dennis Kucinich announced that he would again run for the Democrat presidential nomination. Seen as a lower tier candidate, Kucinich lashed out at his Democrat opponents, calling them hypocritical for funding the Iraq War, “Trust in the Democratic Party is on the line... What kind of credibility will our party have if we say we are opposed to the war, but continue to fund it?” Despite his push for the liberal base, Kucinich still remains as a lower tier candidate, poll numbers show that only 1% of Democrats voters support him.
In first quarter fundraising Kucinich raised $756,567, more than 25 million behind the first quarter leader Hillary Clinton. The second quarter fundraising for Kucinich was not released by his campaign. Chris Dodd and Mike Gravel also did not release fund raising estimates.
After a July 2007 democrat primary debate, presidential primary candidate John Edwards said in a conversation with Hillary Clinton that "We should try to have a more serious and a smaller group.” Clinton agreed, and stated that the candidates they needed to cut were “not serious." Being a lower tier candidate, Kucinich attacked Edwards, "This is a serious matter, and I'm calling him on it," Kucinich said. "Whispering, trying to rig an election, then denying what's going on and making excuses. It all reflects a consistent lack of integrity."
In addition, he was excluded from a primary debate in Nevada, he sued for reentry and won. However, there has been no news since then concerning his reentry in to the debate.
He has withdrawn from the race and will pursue his seat in Congress.
During the primary, the press asked Kucinich about seeing UFO's. Actress Shirley MacLaine says Kucinich saw a UFO in the 1980s while visiting her Washington state home. MacLaine wrote "He saw a gigantic triangular craft, silent and observing him. It hovered for about 10 minutes or so and sped away with a speed he couldn't comprehend. He felt a connection in his heart and heard directions in his mind." He said ""I saw something."
- On the sixth anniversary of the terror attacks of 9/11, Congress voted on a resolution to honor those who lost their lives. Kucinich was the only member Congress to vote against the resolution.
- After announcing his intention not to vote for ObamaCare, Dennis took a ride aboard Air Force One. Soon there after, he was in favor of ObamaCare leading to calls of spineless sellout.
- July 2010, Kucinich cancels all townhall meetings, afraid to face his constituents.
- In August 2010, Kucinich was named one of 85 socialists that occupy seats in the Congress.
- Biography: Dennis Kucinich. PBS.
- Congress Votes to Strip ACORN of Federal Funding. Fox News (November 17, 2009).
- House votes to deny all federal money to ACORN; Kucinich opposes move. The Plain Dealer (November 17, 2009).
- Kucinich’s Choice. National Review (February 20, 2003).
- Candidates’ Rx: Dennis Kucinich. PBS (May 29, 2003).
- NBC News Debate Transcript, http://www.wcnc.com/news/local/stories/wcnc-042607-krg-debate_part1.1023b3ba.html
- Votes and statements on foreign policy, http://www.ontheissues.org/2008/Dennis_Kucinich_Foreign_Policy.htm, NBC News Debate Transcript, http://www.wcnc.com/news/local/stories/wcnc-042607-krg-debate_part1.1023b3ba.html
- US out of Iraq, UN in, http://iraq.kucinich.us/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1&Itemid=1
- On the Issues, http://www.ontheissues.org/Government_Reform.htm#Dennis_Kucinich
- House Rejects Bid to End Afghan War. Fox News (March 10, 2010).
- Dennis Kucinich files lawsuit against President Obama, says Libya war violates the law. The Plain Dealer (June 15, 2011).
- Poll Numbers, http://www.pollingreport.com/wh08dem.htm
- Second quarter fundraising. CNN.
- How Many's a Crowd? Debate Debate Pits Kucinich Against Edwards and Clinton. Washington Post (July 14, 2007).
- Kucinich Drops Presidential Bid, Sets Sights on Keeping House Seat. Fox News (January 24, 2008).
- Rep. Dennis Kucinich Acknowledges UFO Sighting. Fox News (October 31, 2007).
- Kucinich votes against 9/11 anniversary resolution. The Plain Dealer (September 11, 2007).