What would a Kerry administration mean for states? Here’s a sampling of responses collected by Stateline.org from governors attending the Democratic National Convention in Boston.
Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, co-chair of Sen. Kerry’s platform committee and chairman of the Democratic Governors’ Association: “There would be a different deal on health care. The Bush administration is really trying to, in essence, block-grant Medicaid. The Kerry administration says: Let’s make a deal. We [the federal government] will take over the youngsters on Medicaid and make them a federal priority if the states are willing to expand their own children’s health programs to include more families.”
Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco: “With health care rules being changed, it has created an inordinate amount of instability in the states. … I’m looking for some stability in health care funding and help perhaps with insurance. … I’m not looking for universal health care but maybe catastrophic universal health care … and a bit of preventive (health care).”
Maine Gov. John Baldacci, whose state lost shoe-factory and papermaking jobs: “We need a federal administration that’s going to galvanize this country as a more collective union … to galvanize states together so we can compete in the international economy. States can only do so much.”
Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski: “All the governors are concerned about the lack of commitment from the federal government around the issues of Medicare, No Child Left Behind, homeland security, special education, all these federal mandates that actually come to the states. I think this administration has taken the position, particularly on Medicare, that states are on their own. I think under a Kerry administration we’d get a greater commitment … a better partnership.”
Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell: “John Kerry would help supplement the money that states allocate for tutoring. … We can only afford to tutor 3rd, 5th and 8th graders who have failed their standardized tests because that’s all the money we have. … If the federal government stepped in and fully funded No Child Left Behind, … we could get 65 -70 percent of the kids who need tutoring covered right away. That is just one example of the impact that the Kerry administration would have on states.”
Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen: “I’m not a governor who believes that the answer to all the issues in my state is a larger federal appropriation. But I do believe that we’re embedded in the national economy and that there are policies that … create an environment in which states can prosper and grow their economies and jobs. … These areas have largely been ignored over the past four years. I think these are areas Kerry is interested in and will address.”
Virginia Gov. Mark Warner: “I think the Kerry administration would be more responsive to the states’ needs and hopefully have a more fiscally responsibly approach than the idea the Congress can legislate and simply pass down unfunded mandates to state governments … so that they can maintain the tax-cutting fervor at the federal level.”
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