Presidential hopeful stumps in LaPlace

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 3, 2004

By LEONARD GRAY – Managing Editor

LAPLACE – The Louisiana Presidential Primary is set March 9, and eight Democratic Party candidates will be on the ballot, along with two Republican Party candidates.

Most of the names of the Democratic candidates will be familiar to most: Wesley Clark, Howard Dean, John Edwards, John Kerry and Dennis Kucinich. Perennial candidate Lyndon LaRouche Jr. is running this time as a Democrat. And there is Bill McGaughey Jr.

Bill who?

McGaughey, an industrial accountant from Minneapolis, Minn., is president of the General Committee for a Shorter Work Week. He’s also likely the only presidential candidate to drop into LaPlace, as he did last week.

McGaughey is spending five weeks in Louisiana, stumping the state for his admittedly long-shot candidacy.

McGaughey’s literature states he is “one of the nation’s leading experts on the economics of work time, having authored a book to support the last major drive for federal shorter-workweek legislation.”

His books include “A Shorter Workweek in the 1980s,” “A U.S.-Mexico-Canada Free Trade Agreement: Do We Just Say No?” and also “Five Epochs of Civilization: World History as Emerging in Five Civilizations.” He also co-authored, with Sen. Eugene McCarthy, “Nonfinancial Economics: The Case for Shorter Hours of Work.”

McGaughey affirmed he was an early critic of the North American Free Trade Agreement, and as a small landlord in a less-affluent Minneapolis neighborhood, he became acquainted with inner-city problem and politics.

In 2001, he spearheaded a municipal upheaval and in 2002, ran for U.S. Senate, coming in second.

He also attended the same college as President Bush and graduated in the same class as Joe Lieberman.

He penned an op/ed piece for The New York Times in November 1979 on decreasing the work week to 35 hours.

During his Louisiana campaign swing, he talks on proposing an employer-specific tariff, to stem the flow of jobs out of the U.S., taking a bite out of corporate profits and trimming astronomical bonuses paid to corporate bigwigs.

Presently, McGaughey said, corporations are outsourcing jobs overseas, then buying within their corporate holdings. “It’s the preferred strategy for breaking unions by making them irrelevant,” he added.

The dark horse candidate said the leading voices in the parties “are not really addressing these issues.”

Quizzed on hot-button social issues, McGaughey was less committal.

€ Same-sex marriage – “Marriage is a religious institution, not a civil one. I’m for economic parity. An amendment, proposed by President Bush, is a sledge-hammer approach.”

€ Abortion. “Let the state legislatures decided.”

“My goal is to finish noticably well,” McGaughey said, wanting his message to reach the party platform. “It would help the other candidates to toughen up and shift the vote to economic issues.”