Jackson’s “Rainbow Express” Does Whistle-Stop Tour In Cold New Hampshire
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) _ Jesse Jackson took a 1930s-era train through New Hampshire’s Lakes Region Sunday to tell voters to get the country ″back on track″ by choosing him in Tuesday’s presidential primary.
Standing on the back of the red caboose in Plymouth, Jackson told about 300 supporters, including 100 who came on school buses from Concord, to stand up against what he calls ″economic violence.″
″Most poor people in America are not on welfare,″ he said. ″They work every day. And when they get done working, they’re still poor.″
″We, the people, can win,″ he said.
The crowd endured 20-degree temperatures and a brisk wind as they stood in front of the station, its roof dripping with three-and four-foot icicles.
″It’s worth all the cold feet,″ said Holly Anathan, who came from Boston to ride Jackson’s train. She said she liked the way he addressed the problems of lower-income people.
Ten-year-old Elijah Proule held up a Valentine that said ″I Love Jesse.″ He handed Jackson the Valentine and a red rose.
Supporters then got on the ″Rainbow Express,″ which chugged along at 10 to 15 miles per hour, to Laconia.
A retired teacher from Nashua said, ″I like the way he says things and he’s mature.... Last night the others acted like children,″ she said.
Banjo player Court Dorsey went from chilly car to car singing ″It’s a Rainbow Train a-coming.″
″We are winning together, -gether, -gether,″ Jackson sang with Dorsey as the train passed Lake Winnipesaukee, which was covered with ice fishing huts and snowmobile tracks.
″And we are freezing here together,″ Jackson added. The coal stove in one of the three cars went out several times on the trip.
In Laconia and Tilton, Jackson addressed crowds of between 200 and 300 people and asked them repeatedly ″Who’re you going to vote for?″
″Jesse,″ they responded.
″I’ve stood with you. On Tuesday I want you to stand with me,″ he said.
Brenda Wright, who had come to Tilton from Henniker, said she wouldn’t be standing with Jackson in the primary, although she thought he was the best candidate.
″I admire him greatly. He’s done a lot for the underdog and it would be a thrill to see him in the White House,″ she said. ″I won’t (vote for him), because I don’t think he has a chance.″
The train, run by the Winnipesaukee Railroad Co., cost the campaign $1,500 to use. Its trips are normally limited to fall foliage tours and some freight hauling.
Daris Dixon said he had come up with a group of 31 students from Cheyney University in Pennsylvania to canvass for Jackson.
″This has been a great trip. I’d do it again in a minute,″ he said.
A group of 10- and 11-year old girls, who shivered next to the stove near Jackson’s car, weren’t so sure.
″We’re never going to get home,″ said one.
At the end of the line in Concord, Jackson spoke to a rally of workers from Guilford Railway Co., who have been on strike since Nov. 13. He has held numerous rallies throughout his campaign supporting workers on strike.
Kathy Ramsey, East Coast Coordinator for the Organization to Reach Acceptable Condititions for Railway Workers, said she would back Jackson because he ″supports workers rights over corporate greed.″
″He’s the only one addressing the issues at hand,″ she said.