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Polk residents join crowd to hear Clinton in Asheville

Thousands of residents of Western North Carolina greeted Senator Hillary Clinton on Thursday, April 24 at the Asheville Civic Center as the presidential candidate brought her campaign issues and plans for North Carolina and America to Western North Carolina.

The opening presentation and backdrop for the event was support for the military and veterans. Joining Clinton onstage were seven retired generals and one vice admiral, all of whom have endorsed her.

North Carolina native son General Hugh Shelton, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who has 35 years of military experience, gave his professional reasons for his endorsement. He said that of all of the presidents and candidates for the presidency he has worked with during his career, Senator Clinton has the best and deepest understanding of the military.

He added that in addition to the group with him there, she has received the endorsement of 35 other generals and admirals. In addition, he said, she has received the endorsement of two other former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs and one vice-chair. According to Shelton, this is a historic number of such high level endorsements.

Shelton stated that Senator Clinton has the only responsible plan for getting out of Iraq and that she has sponsored more legislation on behalf of veterans and the current force and families. She has been awarded the &dquo;Unsung Hero&dquo; award by the American Legion for 2008, as well as the award from the Purple Heart League for her commitment to and action on behalf of the military.

Each of the officers at the event spoke about the reasons for their endorsement of Clinton from their experience, including retired Lt.General Claudia Kennedy, the highest ranking woman in the military.

N.Y. Adjutant General Taluto said that of all the delegations that came to NYC after 9/11 to help in the effort there, Senator Clinton was head and shoulders above all of them in her understanding of the needs, and in the efficient and timely delivery of necessary services following that tragedy.

Clinton then spoke, discussing a wide range of issues including creating jobs, gas prices, and oil dependency, the economy, taxes, education, healthcare and the coming conflicts over resources as they are used and distributed around the world.

For example, she stated her commitments to:

&ull; Job growth in a new economy based on converting to renewable energy, sustainable resources, and energy independence fired by unleashing scientific research and development to work toward this goal.

&ull; Reviewing trade treaties with provisions that are putting American workers and markets at a disadvantage in the new world ecconomy.

&ull; Cutting tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas.

&ull; Providing universal health care for all Americans. The benefits that Federal employees, Representatives and Senators enjoy should be made available to all Americans.

&ull; Ending No Child Left Behind. Stop teaching to the test.

&ull; Renewing the education system to benefit every child at every level and recognize those young people who are not college bound, as well as those who are, by providing what they need for a strong, bright future in this world economy.

&ull; Closing down the predatory lending practices that are overwhelming students with college loans and home owners in every state. Opening a way for equitable loans and an easier process.

&ull; Setting a &dquo;Declaration of Energy Independence&dquo; for America. Clinton said, &dquo;We do not have a choice in these matters. We are already seeing conflicts arising over resources, and we must realize that we are all connected.&dquo;

Clinton spoke of her love of North Carolina and said she was happy to finally be in the area with her campaign. She asked those present to consider her campaign as her application for the presidency. She joked that this is certainly the longest job quest she has ever been on and said she is grateful for the support she is receiving in North Carolina, now one of the critical states in this election.

Clinton said anyone with questions for her can enter them on her NCASKME.com website. She said all questions will be answered. In addition, she said detailed policy information is available at HillaryClinton.com.

The Polk County Hillary Clinton for President headquarters is open in The Shops of Tryon on N. Trade Street in downtown Tryon. Hours are 10-4 daily, except Sunday, or call 859-7654