Ohio Lawmaker Emerges As Leading Voice Of Opposition To War

By MALIA RULON, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - Rep. Dennis Kucinich, a Democrat from northeast Ohio, emerged as a leading voice against President Bush's request to use force against Iraq.

The House on Thursday voted 296-133 to give the president the authority he sought. The Senate was expected to approve the measure as well.

It's not the first time the former Cleveland mayor, now serving his third term in Congress, has been outspoken about differences between his party's agenda and Bush's policies. Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, Kucinich (pictured, above) has challenged the administration on the way it is handling the war on terrorism overseas and civil liberties at home.

Now Kucinich, who chairs the liberal Progressive Caucus, has become the high-profile voice of opposition to the war. He leads peace rallies and riles his fellow lawmakers to speak out against sending troops to Iraq.

Kucinich started building his coalition to oppose an Iraq war more than a month ago, scheduling weekly updates and meetings with key opponents to the administration's policies, such as former U.S. ambassador to Iraq Edward Peck. The opposition group has grown from about 18 members to 100, Kucinich said this week.

"The mounting opposition reflects a tidal wave of phone calls hitting Capitol Hill. People of America do not want war and they are communicating that to their representatives," he said.

The resolution under consideration would give the president broad powers to use military force against Saddam Hussein if Bush deems it necessary to defend national security interests or enforce U.N. resolutions regarding Iraq.

Ohio's congressional delegation was expected to split down party lines over the issue, with most Republicans supporting it and most Democrats opposing it.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)