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Liberal Reps. to Rally in Primary States

In an effort to influence voters in the 2008 presidential primaries, leaders of the House Progressive Caucus will hit the road this summer and host a series of town hall meetings.

Reps. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), who co-chair the caucus, and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Out of Iraq Caucus, will meet with voters in early primary states including New Hampshire and Iowa beginning in late June.

“We want to point out what they should be looking at and asking the candidates,” Woolsey said. In particular, she said lawmakers will highlight various federal budget priorities as well as the differences in nonmilitary domestic spending and military funds.

The three lawmakers are working with state chapters of Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities, a nonprofit organization that aims to decrease federal spending on Cold War-era weapons systems and shift those funds to areas including education, health care, energy independence, job training and reducing the federal deficit. Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, is the group’s president.

Iowans for Sensible Priorities Executive Director Peggy Huppert said the group will co-host the first sessions June 23 in both Des Moines and Waterloo, adding that the meeting will also call on presidential candidates of both parties to end the Iraq War.

— Jennifer Yachnin