Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, a declared Democratic presidential candidate, spoke at Baruch College on Feb. 27, 2007 at an event sponsored by the Community Service Society and Local 32 BJ Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
“Working Cities: A Leadership Forum on the Working Poor,” was moderated by New York Daily News columnist Errol Louis who engaged Edwards in a conversation about widespread poverty in the U.S, a topic that is a cornerstone of the Edwards’ campaign. Together, with participation for audience members, they explored the candidate’s ideas for ameliorating the condition of the millions of Americans who subsist, barely, from paycheck to paycheck, frequently without benefit of health insurance.
Senator Edwards, who has called poverty “a great moral issue for the U.S.,” spoke of the need to grow the middle class by raising wages, increasing access to college education, and helping those at society’s margins build assets as a hedge against sudden financial disaster.
Known for his strong pro-union stands, Edwards again reiterated his belief that organized labor is a core component to improving the economic lot of the disadvantaged, most especially those in the generally low-paid and non-unionized service sector.
Senator Edwards conducted a wide-ranging Q&A with reporters after making his remarks at the Working Cities forum.