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Kennedy Should Be Re-elected

This year marks Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's 32nd year in the U.S. Senate and his sixth bid for re-election. Kennedy's opponent, venture capitalist Mitt Romney, has challenged Kennedy for his seat on the grounds that, as a moderate Republican, he can better represent the interests of the Massachusetts electorate. However, given the stands the two candidates have taken on the defining issues of this year's campaign, we feel that voters should return Kennedy to the Senate.

On the issue of welfare reform, both Romney and Kennedy believe that current welfare recipients would be better off working than on welfare. Romney's plan calls for a tax credit that already exists and a time limit on welfare benefits. While Kennedy also supports "workfare," he emphasizes that time limits without job training and child care programs will doom current recipients to failure.

On the economy, Romney has argued that as a businessman he knows how to create jobs. Yet his idea of cutting taxes and balancing the budget has no specifics, and bears some similarity to the "voodoo economics" of Ronald Reagan 14 years ago. Kennedy has consistently supported President Clinton's budgets, which through their sharp spending cuts and tax hikes for the wealthy have cut the deficit even more than the President himself expected.

Other issues such as health care reform, crime, and foreign policy have surfaced briefly. On health care reform Kennedy has moved to the right, and now pushes the "managed competition" plan favored by Clinton. Romney has argued that little reform is needed. On crime Kennedy and Romney have competed to stake out a "tougher" stance, but Kennedy has also emphasized the need to improve education and support programs to get kids off the streets. To this Romney has only argued for more family values, something over which he would have little control as a senator.

The contrast between Kennedy and Romney is most clear on foreign policy issues. Kennedy supports the approach used by Bush and Clinton; in other words, a multilateral approach designed to foster global cooperation to bring stability and order to the world scene. Romney has announced that he would not support such a policy, and would scale back U.S. involvement in world affairs to the point where we would only act when U.S. lives, territory, or the economy were at stake.

On all of these issues - welfare, health care, the budget, and foreign policy - Sen. Kennedy has staked out the more realistic and reasonable turf. Job training, moderate health care reform, real deficit-cutting, and multilateral diplomacy are responsible positions. Romney's are not.

Massachusetts voters should also understand that no matter who they vote for, they will elect a candidate who does more than just state positions on issues. Most bills in the Senate are compromises that represent concessions on the part of many individuals. Many Republicans in Congress have rejected compromise measures and taken the road of filibuster and gridlock. Those senators so engaged feel that their constituents' interests are best served by their abstention from the process of legislation.

If re-elected senator, Ted Kennedy will continue to be at the heart of the legislative process, forming and shaping legislation to meet his constituent's concerns.

On this basis and on the issues, we feel that Massachusetts voters should cast their ballots for Sen. Edward M. Kennedy today.