Kevorkian To Run For Congress

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Jack Kevorkian

JACK KEVORKIAN, the assisted-suicide advocate who served eight years in prison for second-degree murder, announced Monday he's running for Congress as an independent. Kevorkian, 79, is jumping into a competitive congressional race, challenging a Republican incumbent for a district in suburban Detroit.

"I'm not a politician," Kevorkian said, adding he is not tied to anybody or anything. "My mind is free. So I can say what I think." Although he has been nicknamed "Dr. Death," Kevorkian didn't say much about assisted suicide at his news conference. He alluded to it, though, saying: "What I did was my right."

If elected, he said his main priority will be promoting the little-known Ninth Amendment, which protects rights not explicitly specified elsewhere in the U.S. Constitution. Kevorkian said he interprets it as protecting a person's choice to die through assisted suicide or to avoid wearing a seat belt. He said the government is tyrannical. "You've been trained to obey it, not fight for it because the tyrant doesn't like that," Kevorkian said.

Kevorkian, a retired pathologist, claims to have helped at least 130 people die from 1990 until 1998. He said he was proud to serve his prison term for helping Thomas Youk, a 52-year-old Oakland County man with Lou Gehrig's disease, die in 1998. He was convicted of second-degree murder the following year.

Just 10 months removed from prison, Kevorkian said he does not plan to actively raise money but said he will accept it if someone donates to his campaign. Republican Rep. Joe Knollenberg, who is seeking re-election, ended the year with more than $1 million in his account. Gary Peters, a former state senator and state lottery commissioner who is seeking the Democratic nomination, had more than $360,000 in the bank.

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Whatever happened to the rule I believe I learned in junior highschool civics class about convicted felons forever forfeiting their right to the vote? And if one can no longer vote, surely one is no longer eligible to hold public office. A bit of online homework clarified this issue for me. True—I had heard of other felons holding office, even running for office from jail, but somehow I suppose I thought that those convicted of murder somehow still did not qualify.

I was wrong. The black voter disenfranchisement issue that began its sweep through the old regime to now allow convicted felons a fresh opportunity to join the process of participating with the free citizenry happened right there in my own lifetime, and I had never taken notice. Of course. What was I thinking...

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