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Mitchell to Maine: We've done it all for you lately


TUESDAY, July 27, 2004 -- This morning’s Maine delegate breakfast at the Colonnade Hotel in Boston was a much more sober affair than Monday’s, which featured Al Franken. But the message was much the same.

Former Senator George Mitchell, now top man at Disney, echoed Franken’s story of his mother using government money to go to college by talking about how he, himself, used the GI Bill to fund much of his law school education. This, he said, is just small evidence of how the Democratic Party has, through the years, attempted to educate and empower the lower and middle class.

In 1940, he noted, only five percent of Americans had completed college. Now that number is 25 percent.

"It was the Democratic Party that did that," he claimed.

He ticked off many other programs and accomplishments, from the establishment of child-labor laws to the Americans with Disabilities Act to Senator Edmund Muskie’s efforts with the Clean Water and Clean Air acts, which he said were championed by the Democratic Party and were directly aimed at bettering the lives of average Americans.

"You can go down the list of every action taken of breaking down barriers . . . and you will find it was a Democratic initiative, normally with fiery opposition," he said.

Saying times are getting increasingly sophisticated, Mitchell said that "success will require more and more knowledge and skill" in the coming years. "That is the challenge to our society, and that is the challenge that Democrats are best equipped to address."

Issue Date: July 27, 2004
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