Democratic presidential hopeful U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., seen at the AFSCME state convention Friday in Des Moines, Iowa, will speak on the environment today at Seacoast Media Group headquarters.
PORTSMOUTH — An estimated 200 Seacoast region residents will size up Sen. Hillary Clinton's policies on energy and the environment at a presidential candidate forum today at Seacoast Media Group, the parent company of the Herald.
If a small sampling of questions from those who plan to attend is any indication, the Democratic presidential hopeful will face informed scrutiny from voters on a wide range of fronts.
Tom Sedoric of Rye wants to know how Clinton "would rebuild our country's credibility in the world." Sedoric said, in the wake of the global unpopularity with the war in Iraq, the United States will need to re-establish its leadership stature to forge international consensus on issues such as energy and global climate change.
"There are countries way ahead of us," Sedoric said about nations such as Norway, which has created far-reaching alternative energy and conservation policies and paid for them with the "highest gas taxes in the world" — despite having abundant natural resources.
A local minister said ending the war in Iraq is a major key to setting the groundwork for new energy policies — and would like to ask Clinton to explain her original vote to authorize the war in 2002.
"The war has cost us in terms of our position in the world," said the Rev. Roberta Finkelstein of the Unitarian-Universalist South Church. "It has made us less safe in the world. And the financial cost has left us with less money for everything, including alternative energy development and issues like poverty."
Mark Brighton of Portsmouth is a real estate appraiser and politically conservative. He would like to ask Clinton "as chief executive, how is she planning on funding" her various alternative energy programs — which include the establishment of a $50 billion Strategic Energy Fund and a proposal to mandate that all federal buildings become carbon neutral by 2030.
Brighton would also like to ask Clinton "how would she mitigate" the potential economic consequences coming from a shift away from a fossil fuel-based economy.
Gary Dozier of Hampton Falls plans to attend with his wife, Joyce. Like Brighton, the self-described "dyed-in-the-wool Democrat" said he wants to know more about "the bottom line" of paying for vital priorities such as global warming and alternative energy development.
"We have a limited amount of money. We just can't print it, and you need a separate funding source," Dozier said. "In order to do anything with clout, you have to have a budget."
Ned Raynolds, a Portsmouth city councilor and the New England Climate policy director for the Union of Concerned Scientists, wondered how Clinton will confront the oil, coal and automobile industries when they habitually claim that major change "is too costly."
"We need to transform our dependence from a fossil fuel economy," Raynolds said.
LIVE COVERAGE: www.seacoastonline.com/clintonForum
• News stories
• Photo galleries
• Video coverage
• Poll question
• Hillary Clinton trivia quiz
• Submit your questions for Clinton
• Clinton links (Web and video)
TO OUR READERS: Thanks to all who signed up to attend the forum today. We have reached our capacity for attendance.
Seacoast Online is owned and operated by Seacoast Media Group. Copyright © 2007 Seacoast Online. All rights reserved.
Seacoast Media Group is a subsidiary of Ottaway Newspapers, Inc., a Dow Jones Company.