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What Americans Would Ask - If They Had the Chance

October 9, 1992

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Walter Koonce of Memphis, Tenn., is worried about affordable health care. Troy, Mich., resident Alvin Prevost is concerned about congressional inaction. Given the chance, they’d ask the presidential candidates about those issues.

What would you ask President Bush, Bill Clinton and Ross Perot if you had the opportunity? The Associated Press asked people what questions they’d pose.

Besides health care and Congress, subjects ranged from Social Security to racism to prenatal care to AIDS.

″The cost of health care increasingly takes more and more of our earning power and it’s discouraging,″ said Koonce, a tour bus agent. ″Every year, our insurance premiums are going up and up and up.″

Prevost, a retired architect, said he believes congressional inaction is ″the most serious thing″ and he believes a president could solve the problem. ″Harry Truman did it,″ he said.

Here are 15 questions from a range of citizens:

1. Koonce: ″How would you as president make certain that I as an average income person can continue to afford quality health care?″

2. Prevost: ″As the leader of the country, can you get Congress to do something to deal with the problems of the country rather than their own political agendas?″

3. Sen. Alan Dixon, D-Ill., the only member of the Senate defeated in a primary this year: ″During your first 100 days in office, what three things would you do to stimulate the economy?″

4. Dexter Rowland, utility company executive, Atlanta: ″What would make you more effective than your counterparts in getting your programs through the Congress and actually into existence?″

5. Oradell Henry, retiree, Des Moines, Iowa: ″Will you see that Social Security funds are sept separate from other federal money?″

6. Shirley McShepherd, community service agency program director, Meridian, Miss.: ″What efforts would your administration make that would address the long-term concerns of low-income people in terms of housing, education and jobs and help alleviate hard-core poverty?″

7. Sen. David Boren, D-Okla.: ″What do you think will determine America’s ability to be a leader in the next century and what would you do to provide those assets and increase our competitiveness in world markets?″

8. From Earl Delk, electrical engineer with an auto manufacturer, Dublin, Ohio: ″Would you support or oppose limits on the number of vehicles that foreign-owned automobile companies can sell in the United States or that their domestic manufacturing subsidiaries sell domestically or export to other countries?″

9. From Semellah Abdullah, psychologist, Chicago: ″Why is there such a disparity in the aid given to European nations and Israel as compared with that given to Somalia, Ethiopia and Haiti? Would you change that? What have you done to eliminate racism and the unfair treatment of people based on their skin color?″

10. From James McDonald, graduate student in public administration at the University of Missouri: ″It seems that at a time when the global marketplace is becoming increasingly competitive and the need for a skilled, well-educated work force is increasing, funds to pay for a college education are getting increasingly scarce. Why is that? What is your plan to help college students pay for their educations and why is it superior to those of the other candidates?″

11. From Ellen Dadisman, Florida Rehabilitative Services spokeswoman who specializes in children’s issues, Tallahassee, Fla.: ″What would you do to ensure that every woman has access to prenatal care and family planning services?″

12. From Albert Shanker, president of the American Federation of Teachers, Washington: ″Given that none of our major economic competitors - Japan or Western Europe - use tax dollars or vouchers for private schools, does it make sense for America to adopt such a plan?″

13. From state Rep. Joseph Courtney, Democrat, Vernon, Conn.: ″What is your plan for defense diversification and conversion into nonmilitary products?″

14. From Jon Schladen, Dover, Del.: ″In reducing the deficit, where would you concentrate.″

15. From Tim McFeely, executive director of the Human Rights Campaign Fund, a Washington-based homosexual rights lobbying group: ″More than 150,000 people have died of AIDS in America and the government is spending approximately $800 million to find a cure. What would you do in the next four years to find a cure for AIDS?″

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