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Americans Air Worries Over Crime, Disease, Jobs

February 11, 1993

Undated (AP) _ The Americans who assembled in four cities to question their new president included victims of disease, crime and disaster, along with middle- class professionals worried about jobs and tax hikes.

Among questioners at a televised town meeting Wednesday night:

-James Marbury of Detroit, whose son was killed for a leather jacket. Marbury asked his president what advice he had for big cities on ″how to get rid of the illegal handguns and curbing the violence.″

-Katie Rabkin, who works for the Atlanta Symphony, and said she voted for Clinton because he promised as a candidate not to raise taxes on the middle class. ″I’m concerned about ... how you intend to keep that promise,″ she said.

-Vicki and Darin Detwiler of Bellingham, Wash., whose 16-month-old son is in critical condition in a Seattle hospital with a secondary infection he received following an E. coli bacteria outbreak in several Western states. Two days before he was hospitalized, his father lost his job and the family was left without medical coverage. Mrs. Detwiler asked Clinton to do something ″so that no one else has to go through what we’ve gone through.″

-Marci Hoffmaster, 17, of Detroit, who has systemic lupus, which causes skin lesions. ″I’ve already discovered that it will be almost impossible for me to get health care,″ she said, and asked Clinton what he would do to help.

-Rochelle Penrod, 9, from Seattle. ″How will you help make a drug-free America so I can feel safe walking out on the streets that no one’s going to come up and ask me, ’Would you like to buy some drugs?‴ Clinton said he would speak out and appoint a drug czar.

-Mary Wagenheim, a former Pan Am employee from Miami, said she is still unemployed since the airline went out of business. She asked Clinton what he would do ″for people who suffer from big industry’s traumas.″ He said he would institute more retraining and better strategies to help communities cope.

-Larry Brown of Seattle, a machinist with Boeing, who is concerned about thousands of layoffs in the U.S. aerospace industry while European governments are subsidizing their companies. ″How can America maintain its leadership?″ he asked. Clinton suggested investing more in converting high-wage technologies to civilian use.

-Kelly Cambron, a Miami attorney, who asked Clinton why he chose ″to tackle gays in the military and the family leave bill first″ before the economy. ″I didn’t,″ Clinton replied, and blamed Republican senators for forcing major debate on the gay military issue.

-Rodger Turner, an Atlanta area minister, who said he had ministered to men during five years of Navy service on a guided missile destroyer and on isolated duty in Alaska. He said he opposes Clinton’s plan to lift the gay ban because ″it would just add continued undue pressure on a situation that’s already pressure-packed to begin with.″

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