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A Clinton Convert, Greening Voters, and the Tribal Turnout

By Ron SchererStaff writer of The Christian Science Monitor and Mary DeSena and Vince Winkel / November 1, 1996



As a US senator, Bob Dole probably sponsored more legislation for the disabled than any other senator. He established a foundation that helps the disabled. And, as a person with a disability, Mr. Dole is acutely aware of the daily struggle of the disabled.

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So it was somewhat of a shock to the Dole campaign to find Justin Dart announcing his support for President Clinton this week. After all, Mr. Dart, who has served under Presidents Reagan and Bush, is a trustee of the Dole Foundation and a major advocate for the disabled. "I have supported [Dole] in every campaign since 1986," says Dart. But he can't this time because, he says, Dole has joined the "Gingrich group."

The Dole campaign says the candidate will continue his "close working relationship" with Dart after the campaign.

-- Ron Scherer

Although American voters tend to balk at raising taxes, they appear ready to spring for some major environmental initiatives.

Polls show support for California's $995 million clean water bond and New York's $1.75 billion water bond.

"It's really unprecedented," says Larry Morandi at the National Conference of State Legislatures. "You have this conservative Republican governor [George Pataki] pushing a $1.75 billion environmental bond measure."

Less certain is the outcome of water initiatives in Florida (Everglades cleanup measures), Oregon (a ban on livestock grazing along streams), and Montana (higher water-treatment standards on mining companies).

-- Mary DeSena

Voter apathy hasn't reached one part of the electorate: native Americans.

Led by the Navajo, who are hard-core Democrats, turnout is expected to reach 70 to 80 percent. "Everything that happens in Washington has an impact on our livelihood here," says Elmer Milford of the Navajo council from Fort Defiance, Ariz. Under the GOP Congress, the budget last year for native American programs fell $160 million and more cuts are expected.

-- Vince Winkel