President's remarks find favor with Carson leaders

Jerry Bussell, Nevada's homeland security adviser who is based in Carson City, said he paid close attention to the President Bush's remarks about Iraq.

"My first impression (about comments on Iraq) was that he has sent a clear message to Saddam Hussein in no uncertain terms that if you don't disarm, we will take action to disarm you."

Regarding the president's comments about freedom being worldwide, Bussell said Bush was making a strong statement to unite U.S. allies, but "we will go ahead, with or without you."

Bussell added, "A defining moment will be when Secretary of State (Colin) Powell meets with the Security Council on Feb. 5 to discuss what our intelligence" will show that Saddam Hussein has done.

Carson City Sheriff Kenny Furlong, a former Air Force officer whose son served in the same branch of the military, agreed with Bussell.

"Our whole family has taken a keen interest in what's going on now," Furlong said.

"I was more than pleased with the president's remarks regarding the Middle East," the sheriff said, because he believes they showed the strength and leadership that the nation needs so badly these days.

"He showed himself to be a very strong leader for the country at large," said Furlong. "I wish he would have been a little more aggressive, but he also came out very clear as to what he expects from Iraq ... and the United Nations."

Furlong said he was impressed with some of the president's domestic goals, including his mention of drug-abuse prevention and mentoring programs.

"These issues are very near and dear to Carson City," Furlong said.

Gov. Kenny Guinn said he also was encouraged by Bush's initiatives for health care and other social programs for seniors.

"If they (members of Congress) move as he asked them to, that would be a big help to us," Guinn said from the Governor's Mansion in Carson City. "Health care and prescription drugs are driving the budget for us."

On the darker side, the governor said a big concern for him and the state is that the country is moving toward war.

Along with military casualties, Guinn said, "War definitely would have an extreme negative effect on us. It would hurt tourism."

Ron Weisinger, executive director of the Northern Nevada Development Authority, said he was quite pleased the president address.

"I'm glad the president said what he said ... it's about time," Weisinger said.

"He told the American public the facts about the economy as he saw them, the fact about the economy ... we're in a state of limbo now.

Weisinger said, "We should go and digest and think about what he said."

At least one young person who was thinking about the Bush's speech was Maria Urbino, Carson High School student president.

"To me, one of the most important things he talked about was the $450 million set aside for mentors for junior high kids," Urbino said.

"I totally think it's important that he included that because, in order to have a healthy society, we need healthy youth growing up in a healthy environment," she said.

The Rev. Jim Hukari of Sierra Vista Community Church said, "I think that the president's emphasis on issues like the mentor program and human dignity, wanting to stop cloning and partial-birth abortions, are to be applauded."

"On the other hand, he's not convinced us of the moral imperative of going to war over Iraq. ... Every major religious body in America (except the Southern Baptists) has rejected his arguments on going to war with Iraq," Hukari said.


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