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Joined by Mayor Cassarino and Elizabeth Jeffords, Welch Outlines 'Pillars of Change'

Location: Rutland, VT

Joined by Mayor Cassarino and Elizabeth Jeffords, Welch Outlines 'Pillars of Change'

Peter Welch, candidate for U.S. Congress, outlined his campaign agenda today at a press conference where he received the support of Rutland Mayor John Cassarino and Elizabeth Jeffords.

With Cassarino and Jeffords at his side, Welch focused on his "Six Pillars of Change" and his experience working with members of all parties to solve problems here in Vermont.

"I believe this election gives the people of our state and our country the opportunity to vote for a change of direction. We can only achieve this change by electing new leadership in Congress," said Welch. "I have the experience solving tough problems and will take that to Washington on behalf of Vermonters."

Mayor Cassarino, an independent, cited that he supports Welch because of his experience and ability to solve tough problems. "We need someone in Congress with experience and who can work across party lines. Peter has done that in Vermont and I am confident he will do that in Washington," said Cassarino.

Jeffords, the wife of independent Senator Jim Jeffords, said "Republicans in Washington have shown they aren't interested in listening to moderate voices like Jim's anymore. I trust Peter to carry on Vermont's tradition of leadership and independence in Washington."

Welch, who spent the day campaigning in Rutland County, has a strong record of assuring the county received support from the legislature, including securing funding for Rutland County drug court and rehab services, for the Spectrum Youth center, the Rutland Courthouse and improvements to Rutland's rail yard.

Cassarino added, "Peter Welch knows where Rutland City and Rutland County are. He helped us in Montpelier; he'll help us in Washington."

"When we change leadership in Congress, end the one party rule of the last six years and restore checks and balances vital to our government, we can make real progress on the issues challenging our families, our state and our nation," he added.

Welch's "Six Pillars of Change" for taking America in a new direction are:

Increase economic security

* Increase the federal minimum wage to Vermont's minimum of $7.25 per hour
* Make health care accessible to every American, control costs, and reform Medicare Part D
* Assure a secure retirement for Americans by fighting to preserve the security Social Security provides

Establish a plan in Iraq that will bring our troops home

* Restore accountability and confidence in the Pentagon by replacing Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
* Congress should demand from the President a plan and timetable to transfer responsibility of Iraq to the Iraqis and begin to bring our troops home

Improve our national security

* Refocus on homeland security, fighting terrorism, and fulfilling 9-11 Commission recommendations
* Assure that our first responders have the resources they need to protect us
* Champion a "GI Bill of Rights for the 21st Century" to honor our veterans' service
* Make FEMA an independent agency and assure it is equipped to respond to Americans in need

Commit ourselves to the goal of energy independence and combating global warming

* Establish an "Apollo-like project of the 21st Century" to combat global warming, create jobs at home, and make us more secure in the world
* End tax breaks to the oil and gas industry and end the royalty relief handout given to oil companies drilling on public lands so we can shift our resources toward developing renewable energy resources
* Double our automobile mileage and efficiency standards

Fight for Vermont jobs

* Make affordable high speed internet access universal in Vermont, help businesses tap partnership opportunities with Washington, and invest in our education system to promote the work and workers of our future economy
* Support Vermont's farmers and farm economy through a pro-family farm 2007 Farm Bill
* Promote renewable energy development and help Vermont continue to be a leader in renewable energy innovation

Restore fiscal responsibility in Washington

* Reestablish the principle of "pay as you go" and balanced budgets
* Take the politics out of earmarks as we have done in Vermont
* Demand "truth in budgeting" from the President

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