Thursday, October 11, 2007
Eaves stumps at Rust
By SUE WATSON
John Eaves, Democratic contender for the governor’s seat, was at Rust College Monday on a short tour of some northern counties.
The core of his campaign and mantra is the question – “Who do you serve?” Eaves said he wants to be governor to serve the people of Mississippi, not big corporations.
He was introduced by Ishmell Edwards, college vice president, who said Rust College is sacred ground.
“It has been said, you can’t get to heaven until you come to Rust College,” Edwards said.
The campus was a slave auctioning site before the college was founded, he said. It opened to educate freed slaves with the first students ranging in age from 8 to 80.
Eaves said he was at the college to learn as well as to tell.
“It’s great to be here in a symbolic place for freedom,” he said.
Eaves draws on his mother, Patricia Glover, whom he said rocked him to sleep singing, “In the Garden.”
His father came from humble beginnings and was forced to work at 8 years of age because his grandfather was a World War II veteran. Eaves said his father built the family law firm where he has practiced.
Eaves said he favors limiting casino industry expansion and raising the casino tax two percent to fund education. He favors a tax swap to lower the grocery tax and make up the revenue with a cigarette tax. He’s favors $1 per sale or more on cigarettes.
He also supports state-funded preventive health care for the state’s uninsured children. The plan would provide physician and dental visits and medication and reduce costly emergency room visits. He favors using the health care program developed by the State of Illinois which would provide insurance to all children in the state.
Eaves favors fully funding education every year and funding health care for children first before the rest of the state’s budget is allocated.
He appreciates the new automotive assembly plants - Nissan and Toyota - that have chosen Mississippi, but would also help existing businesses like Ashley Furniture, with some easing of legislation that would help the manufacturer cut costs and be more competitive.
Eaves said he did sue the U.S. Military on behalf of over 300 Mississippi National Guardsmen who developed Gulf War syndrome but could not get benefits. Eaves said he didn’t win the case and received no income from it, nor were the guardsmen compensated.
In another case he represented U.S. veterans and families who served in Puerto Rico who were exposed to toxic metals and chemical elements from detonated U.S. bombs and became sick.
In a third case, Eaves represented Europeans who were riding a gondola when a U.S. jet ran into the cable. He represented the widows and children of those victims, he said.
“The U.S. government would not pay these families to rebuild their lives. The Italian government did,” he said.
The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 6.
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