Recently it was brought to my attention that I have spent too much time expounding on the reasons you shouldn't vote for Hillary. Not enough time telling you why you should vote for Barack. In an effort to correct this I have compiled a list of his accomplishments garnered from around the world wide web. I will follow this with a look at his plans for a better America. "America is woven of many strands; I would recognize them and let it so remain. It's 'winner take nothing' that is the great truth of our country or of any country. Life is to be lived, not controlled; and humanity is won by continuing to play in face of certain defeat. Our fate is to become one, and yet many -- This is not prophecy, but description."1
To start with, he was born in Hawaii in 1961, his father was a Kenyan student who met his American mother while they attended the same university. His father left his mother when he was but two years old. He later died in a car accident in 1982. Barack himself, graduated from Columbia University in 1983. After college he worked briefly for the Business International Corp. and something called the NYPIRG, before moving to Chicago to take a job as a community organizer. He became the director of the Developing Communities Project. There he worked with low-income residents in Chicagos public housing developments. “No body else running for president has jumped off the career track for three or four years to actually help people” says Jerry Kellman, who first hired Obama as a community organizer. In 1988 he left Chicago for Harvard where he would go on to become the first black president(foreshadowing), of the Harvard Law Review in it's 104 year history. He graduated magnum cum laude from Harvard in 1991. Obama then returned to Chicago to direct a voter registration drive. An effort that added tens of thousands of people to the rolls. the bills though he took an associate attorney position with the firm Miner, Barnhill and Galland from 1993 to 96. There he represented community organizers, discrimination claims, and voting rights cases. Obama also worked on a case of a young whistle-blower who lost her job after exposing waste and corruption in a medical research project. That whistle-blower won a $5 million settelment. He also found time to lecture constitutional law at the University of Chicago from 1993 up until his election to the US. Senate in 2004. Obama also suffered the loss of his mother to Ovarian Cancer in 1995. The same year he published his first best selling memoir “Dreams of My Father”.
In 1996 Barack was elected to Illinois State Senate, when Democrats where a minority. He was reelected in 1998 and 2002 resigning in 2004 following his election to the US. Senate. His Illinois Senate accomplishments have been largely ignored. By the kind of Washington snobbery that doesn't take state legislatures seriously. As a state legislator he gained bipartisan support for legislation he sponsored. Obama's accomplishments are more substantial and varied than Hillary Clinton would dare suggest. He has a longer record in elected office than she does as a second term New York Senator. He helped pass complicated measures in the Illinois State legislature on death penalty, racial profiling, health care, and more. He particularly had success in passing legislation that sharply restricted the gifts that Illinois politicians could accept from lobbyist. The Gift Ban act was the first major new restriction in Illuinois notoriously weak ethics laws since Watergate. When the Dems gained majority in the Senate, Obama's political mentor, Senate President Emil Jones, gave him high profile assignments, including continuous issues involving police videotaping interrogations and racial profiling. Obama proposed requiring that interrogations and confessions be videotaped. The police proved to be his biggest opponents, but by showing officers that he shared many of their concerns, even going as far as helping to pass other legislation that they wanted, he was able to silence any fears they had. The bill passed both houses by 35 to 0. He played a major role in passing many other bills, including the state's first earned-income tax credit to help the working poor. One Republican State Senator remarked that “Barack had a way both intellectually and in demeanor that defused skeptics.”
Obama began as only a part-time state Senator in that he served in the Illinois legislature at the same time he practiced law. He became a full time state lawmaker in 1997, a full four years before Hillary's entrance into “elected” office. The health-care legislation, in which Obama helped shepherd through the Illinois Senate helped expand coverage to 70,000 children and 84,000 adults. It also made permanent Illinois' Kid Care program, raisining the eligibility rate from 185% to 200% of the federal poverty level. He was the chief sponsor of the Hospital report Card Act, a bill that provides requirements for staffing level nurses to ensure that the number of nurses is consistent with the types of nursing care needed and the capabilities of the staff. The bill also contained requirements for orientation, training, whistle blower protection and requires hospitals to prepare a quarterly report detailing specific information as a condition of licensor. Obama said “If I wanted to go eat out in a restaurant, I can go online and find out details about the number and type of health code violations a restaurant has been cited for...But if I need to go to a hospital for open heart surgery I can't find out what the surgical infection rate has been in that hospital. I'd say a lot more is at stake when I go for surgery than when I go out to diner.” Along with his Law on video taping interrogation, he also passed a overhaul of the Death penalty in Illinois. Obama was the Chief cosponsor of a bil that let judges rule out the death sentence for someone convicted solely on the testimony of a jail house informant, accomplice, or single witness. It also aloud the State Supreme Court to overturn a death sentence that is ruled fundamentally unjust, and reduces the crimes eligible for the death penalty by focusing on “Inherently violent” offenses. The bill also expands defendants access to genetic evidence used against them, and bans police officers from the force if they commit perjury in a murder case. It also requires juries to consider the defendants history of abuse or mental illness before imposing a death sentence. Along with those two he also was the chief sponsor in a bill that requires law enforcement in Illinois to record the race, age, and gender of all drivers they stop for traffic violations. To be analyzed by IDOT for evidence of racial profiling and then sent to the Governor. The Bill also incorporated the racial and ethnic sensitivity training for all law enforcement personnel.
In 2003 Obama began his run for the US. Senate and in November he received 70% of the vote, the largest electoral victory in Illinois history. Obama wrote and delivered the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, Massachusetts while serving as a state legislator. The speech was his introduction to America as a whole. It's enthusiastic reception gave him instant celebrity status. He was sworn in as a Senator on January 4, 2005. Only the fifth African American Senator in United States History, and the third to be popularly elected. He is currently the only African American currently serving in the US. Senate. During his campaign he received the endorsement of the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police whom had been some of his toughest opponents.
When Obama was elected to the US. Senate, he said he wished to get things done rather than grab headlines, and cited Hillary Clinton as the sort of “workhorse” he wanted to be. Barack sponsored 152 bills and resolutions brought before the 109th Congress in 2005 and 2006, and cosponsored another 427. He took a active role in the drive for improved border security and immigration reform. Beginning in 2005 he cosponsored the “Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act”, introduced by Republican Presidential hopeful, Senator John McCain. He later added three amendments to the “Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act” sponsored by Senator Arlen Specter. In September 2006 Obama supported a related bill called “The Secure Fence Act”, authorizing construction of fencing and other improvements in border security. President Bush signed the Secure Fence Act into law in October of 2006. Obama successfully introduced two initiatives bearing his name. “Lugar-Obama” bill expands the cooperative threat reduction concept to conventional weapons, including shoulder-fired missiles and anti-personnel mines. The “Coburn-Obama Transparency Act” provides for a web site, managed by the Office of Management and Budget, listing all organizations receiving Federal funds from 2007 onward. It also provides breakdowns by the agency allocating the funds, the dollar amount given, and the purpose of the grant or contract. As a member of the Senate foreign Relations Committee, Obama made official trips to Eastern Europe, the Middle east, and Africa. In August 2005, he traveled to Russia, Ukraine, and Azerbaijan. The trip focused on strategies to control the world's supply of conventional weapons, biological weapons, and weapons of mass destruction as a first line of defense against potential terrorist attacks. Following meetings with US military in Kuwait and Iraq in January 2006, Obama visited Jordan, Israel, and Palestine. At a meeting with Palestinian students two weeks before Hamas won the legislative election, he warned that “the United States will never recognize winning Hamas candidates unless the group renounced its fundamental mission to eliminate Israel.” In December of 2006, President Bush signed into law the first federal legislation to be enacted with Barack Obama as its primary sponsor, the “Democratic Republic of Congo Relief, Security, And Democracy Promotion Act”.
In the very first month of the newly Democrat controlled 110th Congress, Barack worked to eliminate gifts by lobbyist to members of Congress, and require disclosure of campaign contributions under the “Honest Leadership and Open Government Act.”. Which was signed into law in September 2007. He also sponsored a bill to criminalize deceptive practices in federal elections, including fraudulent flyers and automated phone calls, as was the case in the 2006 midterm elections. Environmentalist welcomed his sponsorship with John McCain of a climate change bill that would reduce greenhouse gas emmisons up to two-thirds by 2050. Obama was an early opponent of the Bush administrations policies on Iraq. In the Fall of 2002, (before the start of the Iraq War), he addressed an anti-war rally in Chicago, saying: “I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda. I am not opposed to all wars. I'm opposed to dumb wars.”2 Obama also introduced the “Iraq War De-Escalation Act”, a bill to cap troop levels in Iraq, and begin phased redeployment. The bill would also remove all combat brigades from Iraq before April 2008. Later in 2007, Obama sponsored an amendment to the 2008 “Defense Authorization Act” adding safe Guards for military discharges, and calling for a review by the Government Accounting Office, following reports that the procedure had been used inappropriately. He sponsored the “Iran Sanctions Enabling Act”, supporting divestment of state pension funds from Iran's oil and gas industry. And joined Republicans in introducing legislation to reduce risk of nuclear terrorism. A provision from the Obama-Hagel bill was passed by Congress in December 2007 as an amendment to the State-Foreign Operations appropriations bill. Obama also sponsored a Senate amendment to the State Children's Health Insurance Program, to provide one year of job protection for family members caring for soldiers with combat related injuries. After passing both houses of Congress with bipartisan majorites, SCHIP was vetoed by President Bush in early October of 2007, a move Obama said “...shows a callousness of priorites that is offensive to the ideals we hold as American.” The experience Obama brings to the table has already enabled him to surpass the US. Senate accomplishments of both Hillary and John Edwards combined. It's a record of success in bridging differences in the very same moving vein as his speeches.
1From the Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison; Epilogue, pg. 577
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