By Parker Millar
Congressman Heath Shuler delivered an inspirational speech to an assembled group of students, professors, athletes and administrative staff in the UC Theatre on Tuesday, September 3, 2008 at 3:45 pm.
Before Congressman Shuler spoke, our congressional representative was presented with a Western Carolina University football helmet by Athletic Director Chip Smith as a show of thanks for his help in relation to our new football field.
Calling to mind images of the iconic speech delivered by former president John F Kennedy, Shuler delivered a challenge to the students of our University.
“Get Involved! Do what’s right. Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your Country.”
“More college students voted in the last primary election that in any election in history.” Shuler noted during his address. “You are the generation to make a difference.”
Shuler addressed concerns about issues ranging from
environmental responsibility to education to health care, and he even spoke briefly about our president’s apparent lack of concern for the safety of the people on the gulf coast in the wake of yet another hurricane.
On the issue of the environment, Shuler used Brazil as an example of a nation free from dependence upon foreign oil. “Brazil did it, there’s no reason that the United States couldn’t. We have to protect the natural resources this country has been blessed with so that our children and our children’s children will be able to live in a world worth living in.”
In the area of education, congressman Shuler suggested cutting interest rates and increased funding for Pell Grants as a way to empower college students and give them more opportunities to succeed. The Bush Administration’s education policy (No Child Left Behind) was also a subject of the discussion. “No Child Left Behind? No Child Left a Dime.”
When asked about the subject of a Universal Health Care plan, Shuler responded with a call for more preventative methods of dealing with this country’s health care
“Universal Health Care alone won’t make a difference in the life of an individual. We need to put more emphasis on preventative methods for health care, a great example of this is the impressive new fitness center that opened this semester on your campus.”
In the wake of yet another natural disaster on the gulf coast, President Bush’s first concern was not about the safety of the people of New Orleans, but he was concerned for the security of our off shore oil drilling platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. Shuler referenced this incident as a way to illustrate the fact that there are people in power in Washington who care more about making money than about the safety and well being of the people who put them in power.
In closing, Congressman Heath Shuler delivered a call to action. “Do One thing. Make a Difference.”
Congressman Shuler is
pursing another term as this area’s representative to
Congress. The election will take place on November 4, 2008.