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Hottest prez candidate has following in Kitsap County

“Howard Dean for America,” read the T-shirts. “Howard Dean for America,” said the people wearing the T-shirts at the local Dean Meeting July 2.

Dean is a Democrat who has announced his candidacy for the 2004 U.S. presidential election. He’s also a red-hot candidate who has risen dramatically in nationwide polls — and fundraising — in recent weeks.

He was governor of Vermont from 1991 to 2002, and is also a physician.

“We think we’ve got the right guy,” said Ann Lowell, one of the coordinators for the Kitsap County meeting, in which 30 people met in the Old Town Waterfront Bakery in Silverdale to rally for Dean.

Among those in attendance was Lt. Robert Law, a paramedic for Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue. Law said he was there because of the firefighters who died in the terrorist events of Sept. 11, 2001.

“As a professional firefighter, a war was started in my name,” he said. Because Dean is a doctor, Law feels he is compassionate, which is something America needs.

“I’m here because the country is divided and it needs to be brought back together,” Law said. “If Dean can do — and I believe he will do — what he did for Vermont, for America, then the nation will be far better (off) than it is now.”

Grace Hawkins read an e-mail from her goddaughter, Chris Boraker, who lives in Vermont.

“‘I am certainly pleased about Howard Dean’s candidacy,’” Boraker read. “‘My little family benefited tremendously from programs that Gov. Dean got going.’”

During the meeting, members wrote letters for the “Adopt-an-Iowan” program. That is, each member wrote a letter to three undecided Democrats in Iowa telling them about Dean.

A series of political caucus will be held in Iowa in February 2004, the first hint at who the leading Democratic candidate is.

“The present regime scares me to death,” said Eugene Brennan of Manette. “I’m very concerned about the direction the country is going. (Dean) was the first... who stood up and spoke out against this war that we have not won.”

Jennifer Stowell, a therapist from Silverdale, also attended the meeting.

Stowell said one of the reasons she looks to Dean as president is because he didn’t believe in the war on Iraq.

“I think that he (Dean) is absolutely and blatantly honest,” Stowell said. “Even if there are issues which I disagree with slightly, I know where he stands.”

According to Lowell, they have not yet set a date for the next meeting, but more information can be found at www.kitsap4dean.com. She also said another good Web site is www.deanforamerica.com.

Lowell suggests that those who support Dean make themselves known by attending meetings of Democrats in the future, such as the Great Democrat Picnic in August.

“In this county, we have to be visible,” Lowell said.

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