Daschle outlines steps to improve nation, state

Daschle outlines steps to improve nation, state Susanne Skyrm (center) listens as Darlene Fett speaks with U.S. Sen. Tom Daschle Monday during his campaign stop on the campus of USD. by David Lias Want to make South Dakota – and the nation – a better place to live?

Create more jobs.

Promote the production of ethanol and biodiesel to boost the South Dakota economy and help the nation become energy independent.

Give Americans some economic relief by allowing them to purchase prescription drugs at lower costs from Canada.

These are just a few of the solutions to the nation's ills that U.S. Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle offered Monday night at a barbecue and campaign stop held on grounds of The University of South Dakota campus.

"What I hear from families and individuals is they are feeling more and more financial pressure these days than they ever remember feeling before ? in part because income has not risen over the past four years.

"But what hasn't been stagnant is all of the bills our families have to pay," he said. "Health costs, and health insurance premiums, have gone up 38 percent."

Daschle said he supports allowing Americans to purchase prescription drugs from Canada, to pool resources and groups to negotiate with drug companies, and to allow businesses to deduct health-care premiums from taxes.

One reason South Dakotans are struggling economically, he said, is a growing outsourcing of jobs.

"South Dakota has lost 14 percent of its manufacturing jobs this year," he said. "It pains me to see us outsourcing jobs to other countries. Those jobs ought to be in South Dakota, and we ought to keep them in South Dakota."

Incentives should be provided to keep jobs at home rather than outsourced around the world, Daschle said. "If not, we will continue to see our economic base erode," he said.

South Dakota � and the nation � Daschle said, would greatly benefit with the further development of ethanol, biodiesel and wind energy.

"Then, within 15 years, we can say goodbye to all the oil suppliers in the Persian Gulf," he said.

Daschle said he also supports mandatory Country Of Origin Labeling on ag products.

"In America, we can dream big dreams. And if we continue to live out the legacy of our founding fathers, that dream ought to continue," he said.

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