Who is he: Dennis Kucinich served eight terms as a US Representative for Ohio's 10th congressional district, from 1997 to 2012, and ran as a Democratic candidate in the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections.
Kucinich most recently sat as chair of the Domestic Policy Subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and served as a member of the Education and Labor Committee. Kucinich is also known for a reputedly bumbling two-year term as the 53rd mayor of Cleveland, Ohio from 1977 to 1979.
Background: Born in Cleveland, Ohio on October 8, 1946, Dennis John Kucinich was the oldest son of seven children and his humble beginnings have remained an influence on his life and in the way he approaches his life's work as a legislator.
From 1967 to 1970, Kucinich attended Cleveland State University and graduated in 1973 with both Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in speech and communication from Case Western Reserve University. He is married to Elizabeth Harper, a native of Britain and currently his third wife.
Between his willingness to vote opposite his own party and the Democratic Party itself struggling to find its own cohesiveness within the splintering of Blue Dogs, New Democrat Coalition and the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), Dennis Kucinich continues to speak his mind – for better or worse. A socialist to a degree, too many of his solutions feature further government interference. From a libertarian standpoint, such government involvement only makes matters worse.
Dennis Kucinich has been compared to the Social Democrats in Europe. In this country, perhaps he would be considered a populist. At other times, however, Kucinich sounds like a constitutionalist. He can be hard to pin down, and his very unpredictability and willingness to speak out has provided him with attention that many other politicians don't receive and in some cases don't wish to receive.
Kucinich is certainly – and unfortunately – a legislative activist. He has either authored or co-sponsored new legislation that would create national healthcare for all citizens, lower the costs of prescription medications, preserve Social Security (the third rail) and help "provide economic growth" through improvements to the infrastructure.
Kucinich sounds marginally constitutionalist and libertarian at times. But his forceful government activism belies his words. He still believes in using government power to enforce his agenda. In this context he is an entirely conventional politician.
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