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Race-dem Primary Dr. Pierce

Race-dem Primary Dr. Pierce image
Parent Issue
Day
14
Month
June
Year
1974
OCR Text

Pierce's activities in the community are not limited to medicine alone. He is a member of the ACLU Board of Directors, a member of the Model Cities Policy Board, and the founder of the county's fïrst methadone treatment center. Pierce is by no means new to politics: he served as a City Council member in 1964-65, and ran for mayor in 1967. But Dr. Ed Pierce is running on much more than just his past record and personal integrity. His campaign is an attempt to bring a wide variety of people whom he has worked with over the years together, from students to working people, both black and white. As he points out, the Second Congressional district has all these elements, and he believes he is the candida te who can unify them behind him. (The Second Congressional district includes eastern Washtenaw County-Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti; part of Wayne County-Livonia and Plymouth; and Monroe County. The seat is currently held by Republican Marvin Esch.) Not everything in Pierce's campaign is going to please all those people, however. Many of his ideas and reforms can be termed nothing less than "radical." 'Tm running the same campaign in Monroe as Ann Arbor," Pierce answers when asked if some of his ideas might aliénate more conservative voters. 'Tm hoping that I'm a strong enough politician to say that, on the whole, I'm going to have about thirty major stands in this campaign; five of which you might really be upset about, twenty which really might hit you and four or five which really might make a difference in your life." Ed Pierce wants to make a difference in people's lives, and after working with a wide range of people, decided that Washington was the place to do it. "It has become apparent to me that many of the problems faced by my patients deserve a national solution," he points out. "Congress is the major dispenser of public funds, although 1 do have some serious questions about whether it should be that way or not." If elected to Congress, Pierce has some very unique programs for dispensing that money. As a first step, he wants the defense budget, a major drain on the nation's funds, drastically reduced. "You could cut 15-20% just in fat," he says, "but I'm actually talking about cutting the purpose." Pierce has proposed at least a 50% cut in the arms budget, a suggestion which has some of the conservatives in the district worrying it will lead to the Russians bombing us. Pierce doesn't think so, pointing to the fact that the U.S. has more troops overseas at present than any other country, including Russia. He wants the U.S. to stop being the world's policeman and major arms supplier. He is extremely critical of the aggressive foreign policy this country has pursued for the past 20 years because of "economie friendship." "If we agree with a country's economie policy (for example, Spain), we are friendly. If we disagree (for example, Chile), we are not friendly and are, in fact, at times that country's destróyer (North Vietnam). Economie friendship by our definition means that our companies can wheel-and-deal in their country. Arms, andat times, troops, follow the economie interests of American 'companies in foreign lands. Who would the United States support today if civil war broke out in the Union of South África? The 90% oppressed black population or the 10% white population, which has allowed vast economie development by the United States multi-national corporations." "Our flag must stop following General Motors!" While admitting that foreign policy is "my number one reason for running," Pierce also has some ideas that may more directly affect people's lives. With less money spent for arms, more can be used to guarantee everyone the basic necessities of life. Not exactly a socialist (he thinks the free enterprise system has a certain amount of "pizazz," although he admits the current system "creaks"), Pierce does like the idea that each should get "according to his needs." "I think the basic services of life need to be socialized- energy, medical care, legal care- those places where you can have large concentrations of power that can affect our personal lives have got to be busted up." One of his major economie reforms is to elimínate tax shelters which protect the rich. For example, he is proposing a stiff inheritance tax which would prevent the wealthy from having extreme power simply because they happen to inherit incredible wealth. "The goal of the present economie game plan can be summed up in eight words-the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. I believe that full employment and a decent standard of living are possible if we have the guts and generousity of spirit to take the necessary steps to bring this about. "We are a rich country and if it takes drastic steps to redistribute income, then that is the way it will have to be." Of course, Watergate has not gone unnoticed in Pierce 's campaign. Critical of Esch's refusal to take a stand on impeachment, Pierce says he will-be right in there voting for it if elected. He also wants to see Presidential power cut, recognizing that Nixon's successor will be "just as conservative." One other area of concern playing a major role in Pierce's campaign is racism. While pointing out that racism will continue "until the economie condition of the poor improves," the doctor wants to work towards a fully integrated society. He is one of the few candidates not running an anti-bussing campaign. According to Pierce, such a stand "would be a slap in the face of my black friends." All these reforms do not sound like the usual rhetoric coming from future Congresspeople. Can it all really work? Well, Pierce says he has always been an optimist. 'Tve always kind of been operating under the 'everyman' theory. The 'everyman' theory means that I'm not an isolated person in the culture or the country. I think there's probably many , many people coming out of the woodwork, throughout the country in the various Congressional districts, like myself as far as political philosophy is concerned. "I don't want to go to Congress and be an isolated voice. I would love to walk arm-in-arm with Dellums and Abzug. It would be a lot of fun. But I'm hoping, at least eventually, there will be true reform in this country."