PORTSMOUTH — When New Mexico Governor and Democratic presidential hopeful Bill Richardson visited with the editorial board of Seacoast Media Group on Wednesday, he touched on his plans for health care, energy, education and the Iraq war.
On Iraq, Richardson firmly believes that the only answer is for the U.S. to withdraw, leaving no residual troops. He would leave small forces in Kuwait and Afghanistan.
To help keep Iraq stable, Richardson proposes a U.S. sponsored agreement between the three warring factions to establish three distinct areas of the country under federal control, an all Muslim peace keeping force and to allow the Iraqis to keep some of the construction equipment already in the country.
Having had some successes in New Mexico with reducing dependence on fossil fuels and promoting renewable energy, Richardson calls for a nationwide initiative, with business, government and individual citizens buying into incentives to “go green.”
Richardson would raise teachers’ starting salaries to $40,000, with a plan to help good teachers advance. He would eliminate the “No Child Left Behind” initiative and replace it with a new testing standard that includes peer review.
The Governor said he favors a universal health care plan. He advocates separation, having the federal government handle Medicare. He wants the states to administer health care coverage for low income people, working families, kids and SCHIP (State Children’s Health Insurance Program) using federal dollars.