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Dolores Huerta and John Kerry’s Sister, Peggy, Discuss Support for Women for Kerry

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Labor organizing pioneer Dolores Huerta, who was recently named Chair of, Women for Kerry, says that there is still no budget for the group. And we speak with John Kerry’s sister, Peggy, to get a response. [includes rush transcript]

One of the features of the opening session of the Democratic National Convention yesterday was a Salute to Women Senators. Barara Mikulski of Maryland, Barbara Boxer of California and Hillary Clinton of New York were among those who took the stage.

Earlier in the day at the Harvard Club, the National Organization for Women and the Feminist Majority held an event for Kerry. Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farmworkers Union was one of those who spoke.

  • Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America with Cesar Chavez.

Also at the event was John Kerry’s sister, Peggy Kerry. I had a chance to ask Peggy Kerry about Dolores Huerta’s comment that Women for Kerry did not have a budget.

  • Peggy Kerry, sister of John Kerry.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! Breaking with Convention. Yes, the parties continue everywhere. Yesterday also at the Harvard Club in Boston, a celebration of an organization called Women for Kerry. They were celebrating the Chair Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers Union. The event was sponsored by the National Organization for Women and the Feminist Majority. Dolores Huerta was welcomed and then spoke.

DOLORES HUERTA: Had it not been for the Feminist Majority, the Clinton administration would have probably recognized the Taliban as the official government of Afghanistan.

AMY GOODMAN: Dolores had several controversial things to say. Among those things was the implied question: How much is the Democratic Party supporting Women for Kerry?

DOLORES HUERTA: You just recently heard that I have been named the head of the women for Kerry campaign. [cheers] (applause). But, I just want to say to you, it’s a beautiful title. At this moment in time, we do not have a budget for women organizers. What’s up with that? Right? So I want to say to all of you, I want all of you to go to your state chairs at this convention and let’s call the head of the Kerry campaign and say, women have given a lot of money to this campaign. We don’t want all of the money back that women gave. But how about just a little bit? Enough so we can have women organizers in all of those swing states? Right? So we can—(applause)—so that we can get those 22 million women that for whatever reason did not vote, so that we can get them to the polls. And I want to say to all the women also, let’s talk to our Republican friends. And let’s talk to them about the wedge issues. This is what I am using with the Latinos, especially. I say to them, you know, I have 11 children. But does that mean that every woman out there needs to have 11 children? I mean, I don’t know how many of you want to have 11 kids? It’s up to every single family. It’s up to every single woman to decide how many children she wants to have. That is a woman’s right and it’s a privacy issue. (applause) We should not feel timid about raising that issue. We have to raise it. If they don’t raise it, let’s raise it so that we can go out there and educate people. The other thing and I want to quote John Burton, he’s the head of the California Senate, In a press conference they asked him, “Well what do you think about gay marriage?” And I want to quote him and he said, “You know, if Thelma and Louise get married, it doesn’t affect me that much. It doesn’t affect our paychecks for sure. This is a privacy issue. If Thelma and Louise want to get married, let them. It’s all right!”

AMY GOODMAN: Dolores Huerta, Chair of the Women for Kerry campaign and group. She’s co-founder of United Farm Workers’ Union. She gave out cards for people to sign their names to send in to the Democratic Party asking that Women for Kerry be funded like other groups. But they didn’t have to go outside the room for a comment close to the core of the Kerry campaign because Peggy Kerry was there, the sister of presidential candidate John Kerry. Though her handler wasn’t too pleased with a reporter coming up to her saying I had to go through the official channels. Peggy Kerry agreed that I could ask her a few questions. And I asked her about this issue of what kind of priority was women for Kerry for Senator Kerry.

PEGGY KERRY: It’s a matter of the whole budget, the whole campaign. And I really don’t—I really don’t—can’t go into the whole budget for the campaign. I don’t know the ins and outs of it to be honest with you. But I do think that we will see that there is money for the women’s part of the campaign. After all, women are at least 51% of the vote.

AMY GOODMAN: And what do you think are the most important issues for women in this campaign?

PEGGY KERRY: I think that the issue of choice, the issue of judges to the Supreme Court, I think that the issue of education, the issue of health, those are important issues. Those are very important issues for women, but of course they are really important issues for everybody.

AMY GOODMAN: And the issue of war. Where do you stand on the occupation?

PEGGY KERRY: I am not—it’s a much more complicated issue.

AMY GOODMAN: Peggy Kerry, the sister of John Kerry, who was attending the Women for Kerry event yesterday at the Harvard Club. That was sponsored by the National Organization for Women and the Feminist Majority. This is Democracy Now! Breaking with Convention: War, Peace and the Presidency.

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