Dennis Kucinich was born October 8, 1946, in Cleveland, Ohio. He attended Cleveland State University up until 1970, when he switched to Case Western Reserve University. He graduated in 1973 with both a BA and an MA in speech and communication. While still in University, his political ambitions asserted themselves at an incredibly early age, and he got elected to the Cleveland City Council in the year 1969, at the age of just 23. He next sought to be elected into the United States House of Representatives several times, but missed. Instead, Kucinich became clerk of the municipal court in Cleveland in 1975.
Just two years later, he managed to run for and win the office of Mayor of Cleveland. He served in this position until 1979, a term which was marked by a struggle against corruption and an organized crime group who were putting pressure on him to sell the local utility. He stood up to them and even survived a plot to assassinate him, almost by luck. For this, he was honored by the city council many years later. However, he failed to win re-election to the office of Mayor.
Remarkable for a Presidential candidate, Dennis Kucinich next turned away from politics and worked ordinary, menial jobs in the private sector. In 1983, almost by chance, he did take up politics again by filling a city council seat to replace another deceased councilman. After leaving this position, he again left the political sphere. He basically dropped out of politics and lived quietly as a regular citizen until 1994.
In 1994, he was elected to the office of the Ohio State Senate, where he served for two years. After this, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in the 10th District of Ohio in 1996. He has served in this position until the present time, through five consecutive terms. His district includes his home town of Cleveland, as well as several other districts.
His work as a Representative has been active. He helped introduce the United States National Health Insurance Act of 2003. He has taken exception to the Patriot Act, the flag-burning amendment, and has spoken out against improper voting machine design regarding Diebold Election Systems, particularly regarding the alleged fraud in which President Bush was supposed to have rigged the voting.
Dennis Kucinich has also been outspoken in criticizing the Iraq war, he has called for nuclear disarmament, and he has said that the United States should withdraw from the NAFTA treaty. He has been fiery on U.S. foreign and war policy in general; for example, he explained his vote against the symbolic "9/11 Commemoration" by stating that it left out "the lies that took us into Iraq, the lies that keep us there, the lies that are being used to set the stage for war against Iran and the lies that have undermined our basic civil liberties here at home."
He made a run for President in 2004. Although he won ringing endorsements from many Democratic and Green party members, including Ralph Nader, he eventually lost the Democratic race to the more popular Dean and Kerry. As of December 2006, he has announced his seeking of the office of President for the 2008 race, doing so from his home town of Cleveland.
Dennis Kucinich is mostly classifiable as a medium-left Democrat. However, he does not necessarily let this stop him from voting across party lines when the issue at hand is something that he has a firm opinion about. He has changed his stance from anti-choice to pro-choice regarding a woman's right to an abortion. He did meekly go along with the war drum on Iraq in the early days of the Bush administration, before backing up and out of the support for the war and has since loudly protested the situation in the Middle East. He has even gone so far as to make public visits to Middle Eastern countries, making speeches and appearances in which he denounced what the United States is doing over there.
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