Commonwealth Club: Mike Gravel

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2008 Democratic presidential candidate and former United States Senator from Alaska, Mike Gravel, will lay out his plans for becoming the "Man for America." From his advocacy for a universal healthcare system to the support of a guest worker program, Gravel will discuss the path he sees our country taking in the future and why voters should back him in the upcoming presidential election. Gravel, who served two Senate terms from 1969-1981, is known for fiercely opposing proposed legislation to renew the military draft during the Vietnam War and for playing a key role in the release of the Pentagon Papers in 1971.

As a presidential candidate, he has remained committed to the ideals of direct democracy, building his campaign around them. He led a Constitutional amendment effort modeled after the state ballot initiatives that would allow American voters to become "lawmakers" and introduce federal ballot initiatives. He opposes tax loopholes for the wealthy and believes that a progressive retail sales tax would be a better tax policy for the country. Gravel also supports the Fair Tax proposal, which calls for the abolition of the IRS, withdrawal from the war in Iraq within 120 days. He has recommended that carbon energy be taxed to help provide funding to develop energy alternatives and reduce the world's dependence on fossil fuels.

In the early 1950's Gravel served as a special agent in the U.S. Army's Counter Intelligence Corps. Following his stint in the Army, Gravel attended Columbia University's School of General Studies where he received a B.S in economics. Gravel was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, to French Canadian immigrants. He attended French-speaking Catholic schools and helped his father and brothers in the house painting and construction business in his spare time. He also volunteered in local Springfield politics, developing an avid interest in government.

This program was recorded live on Decmeber 11, 2007.

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