Sen. McCain Extolls Campaign Finance Reform, Programs for Young People

May 3, 2001

Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) told independent agents gathered for IIAA’s 25th Annual National Legislative Conference that the gateway to positive change lies in campaign finance reform.

“We are gridlocked by the special interests and the big money that they donate,” McCain told an appreciative audience. “We know that you can’t take the money out of the campaign, but we must level the playing field. All of us are special interest-we should all have a say.”

Introduced by IIAA CEO Bob Rusbuldt as “a true American hero,” McCain touched on what he sees as the key concerns facing the nation. Among those were conservation and the exploration of the use of alternative energy sources, including nuclear power.

McCain said that Arizona’s power crisis is not as severe as California’s, due to Arizona’s nuclear plant, Palo Verde. “I believe climate change is taking place, although we do not know how severe it will be. We need to alert the American people to this change and adopt an effective energy policy.”

McCain also emphasized the need for improvement in the “state of men and women and equipment in the military,” as well as the need for reform in the social security and medicare systems. Healthcare also continues to be one of the most difficult and important issues.

Commenting on the recent situation with China, McCain said: “We must handle relations with China with great care. They are an emerging superpower, but at the same time we must uphold our respect for human rights and equality, and continue to condemn religious persecution. They are not our friends, but we must create a careful working balance with them.”

Regarding taxes, one of the main issues for agents making Capitol Hill visits today, McCain said he supports setting the estate tax at around $5 million, and is in favor of tax breaks for working Americans and the elimination of marriage penalties.

“I’m in favor of the tax cut, but I’m afraid of the imbalance in paying taxes and the burden that is placed on working families,” he said.

McCain stressed the importance of motivating our young people to serve. “Young Americans are more patriotic than my generation. We must engage them in the political process and help them serve. To do this, we must expand on existing programs, start new ones. Our job as leaders is to inspire them to serve a cause greater than one’s self interest – that’s what being an American is all about.”

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