Presidential hopeful speaks at city school

NASHUA – Nashua High School junior Dylan Luers wanted to know what Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich thinks of the American criminal justice system.

Then he asked the four-term U.S. congressman about his daily diet.

Kucinich gladly answered both questions, as well as a number of others posed by Nashua High students at the school’s north campus, who gathered Tuesday afternoon to hear the candidate talk about his life in politics.

“I don’t eat anything with a face,” Kucinich said, getting a few chuckles from the students. “That means no meat, no dairy, no fish, no processed foods. It works for me; I feel the best I ever have and it’s why I can work for 20 hours straight if I need to.”

Kucinich’s hour-long appearance was orchestrated by Nashua High visual literacy and television teacher Dave Goldsmith and included about 100 students in video production, journalism, economics, history, and U.S. government classes.

“We’ll do anything we can to get students interested in the system and to be voters,” Goldsmith said. “There’s nothing better than meeting (candidates) personally.”

Walking in to applause, Kucinich spoke more about personal experience and social values than stumping for votes, beginning with his humble childhood as one of seven children growing up in Cleveland apartments and his first attempt at public office at age 20, when he ran for city council.

Kucinich raised a few more laughs describing his first door-to-door campaign, telling the story of one woman who answered the door, walked away, then came back with some change for him, thinking he was the paperboy.

Junior Amy Serna said Kucinich is the first candidate she has seen in person.

“I talk with my friends and parents about politics, sometimes,” she said. “I follow it a little; I probably will more when I start voting.”

Cassie Loftus, a senior, brought up the current administration’s No Child Left Behind Act, asking Kucinich about the financial burden it can put on individual states.

“At first it got a lot of support (in the House and Senate), but we’ve learned since then that this program doesn’t work,” he said. “The government funding was cut from $33 billion to $22 billion, and they’ve made it more about testing.

“I can’t think of any better way to deaden the interest of kids than to talk test, test, test,” he said.