ServeNext.org Blog

McCain touts AmeriCorps volunteers as “the best we ever had,” declines to sign Pledge

Posted by aaronjmarquez on October 15, 2007

McCain - Town Hall

Yesterday in Hopkinton (and live on C-SPAN), U.S. Senator John McCain (AZ-R) was asked about his views on the expansion of National Service and volunteerism in America after 9/11. Here’s how he responded:

“After 9/11, when America was united, I wouldn’t have asked Americans to go shopping or take a trip. I would have asked Americans to serve, find ways to serve, and provide ways to serve.

“I would ask people – first and foremost – to consider joining the military. I would have expanded the Peace Corps. I would have expanded AmeriCorps. I would have setup neighborhood volunteer organizations. I would have asked everyone to serve in some way. I believe Americans would have responded very affirmatively.

“Yes, I would expand AmeriCorps. Yes, I would expand the Peace Corps. Senator Bayh (D-IN) and I had a proposal a couple years ago. In return for 18 months of military service, you get $18,000 in credits for education. That means we would have people who maybe who weren’t the mostly highly trained and skilled combat, but could do a lot of the work in the military that’s necessary to be done today.

“I love my generation. We have members of the Greatest Generation here and I am very honored to be in their presence. When I go over there in Iraq, when I go to Walter Reed and Bethesda or Brooke Army Hospital; when I meet these young people who are serving, when I meet your friends in AmeriCorps in the inner-city… folks who are doing City Year – where they spend a year in the inner-city teaching children to read and helping their education – it’s the best; the best we ever had… and I know America is well served by them.”

When asked to sign the Pledge to Expand National Service, the Senator declined saying, “I stand on my record, not on pledges.” Governor John Lynch (NH-D), stopped by the Town Hall Meeting with one of his daughters to welcome Sen. McCain. The Lynches are residents of Hopkinton.

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