Senator John Edwards

ACORN Ideas and Issues Personal Writings

Washington Senator John Edwards told the ACORN Board members assembled in Washington for his interview that answering ACORN’s questions might have been the “easiest test he ever took,” and it seemed he was telling the truth. The answers were quick and to the point, and there was a chorus of “yeses” often expanding the answer into more that could — and would — be done, if he were elected.

Edwards is an old ACORN hand now, so he got right to the point without any preliminaries. This was a crowd he understood, and he was with people he knew. He and Maude Hurd, ACORN’s President, tried to remember how many cities they had traveled together in the fight for the minimum wage increases in 2006, and bantered back and forth to try and come up with a number. Edwards yelled “Zach” over his right shoulder, calling out for Zach Polett, ACORN’s National Political Director, to ask him to come up with the number. This was going to be as smooth as it ever gets in these kinds of things.

Edwards had a good idea and a new one on foreclosures that went past our questions and stirred some interest. He suggested that a Home Recovery Fund be created to help families escape foreclosure, since so many of them were caught between predatory practices and the shifting sands of a now unstable market not allowing them to refinance. Very interesting!

He warmed to the notion of both our Maximum Eligible Participation theme of wanting universal coverage and registration of all eligible families as participants in any federal program for which they were qualified and our notion of a huge “Marshall” recovery plan for rebuilding the cities. Raising the stakes at one point in this interchange, Edwards said he was calling for the creation of 1,000,000 new section 8 affordable housing vouchers to eliminate the waiting lists of eligible (and desperate!) families for good, accessible, and affordable housing.

On the New Orleans and Katrina question once again Edwards was “there from hello” since he has also been on the ground with us in the Crescent City several times and even announced that he was running from a home site in the upper 9th Ward earlier this year.

None of this was surprising. In the last four years Edwards has been clearer and clearer that his campaign is mission-driven around poverty eradication, so with us he is preaching to the choir, since we have campaign so hard and for so long to really see the great society finally achieved on an equitable basis for all Americans.

We have some good friends in this race, which will make it very hard for the Board to get the 2/3rds necessary to make a recommendation, but which makes all of this very exciting, too!

Senator John Edwards being interviewed by the Board