July 25, 2008
John Edwards in town

Former Senator and Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards was in town this week to promote his anti-poverty agenda.

Edwards, from North Carolina, said he would "fight with every fiber of my being" to help low-income Americans.

The former Democratic vice-presidential candidate and one-time presidential hopeful joined local community and political leaders in a private roundtable discussion on poverty, the foreclosure crisis and similar issues hosted by ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.


The effort, dubbed Half in Ten, hopes to encourage state and national legislators to enact measures that will help reduce the number of impoverished citizens by 50 percent in the next 10 years.

Edwards said as the campaign's chairman he can bring national attention to the need to raise people out of poverty.

"I've got a soapbox," he said, "and I intend to use that soapbox with every fiber of my being to speak for those who have no voice."

He said that some of the measures that could help the poor and people in financial crisis would be to raise the minimum wage, expand the earned-income tax credit and make child care more affordable.

These are all worthy goals, though I suspect Edwards will have more luck with Congress than he will with the Texas Legislature, even with Sen. Rodney Ellis' stated support. I just don't see a minimum-wage increase as being a priority in Austin next year. That said, there are some things that might have a chance, such as better protections for mortgage-seekers, and easier access to banking for low-income folks, which is something City Controller Annise Parker has been championing here. With a careful selection of targets, you might have some success.

Obligatory Questions Department:

When asked if he would accept an invitation from Sen. Barack Obama to be his running mate, Edwards said he is not lobbying for the job but he would seriously consider it.

I'd be fine with an Obama-Edwards ticket, though that wouldn't be my first choice - I'd call Kathleen Sebelius and Hillary Clinton my top two at this point. If President Obama wants to tap him as Attorney General, now that would excite me. Otherwise, keep doing what you're doing, John. You do have that soapbox, and this is a good use of it.

UPDATE: Houtopia was at this event. neoHouston has a somewhat different take.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 25, 2008 to National news
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