About 90 people bundled up against the wind Sunday for a rare visit from the campaign of a presidential nominee.
Elizabeth Kucinich spoke on behalf of her husband, Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, as listeners huddled to keep warm on benches beneath the Graceada Park pavilion at 401 Needham St.
Kucinich is considered a long shot to win his party's nomination, but that did not stop the crowd from cheering his wife's arrival. She described her husband, who was campaigning in Cleveland on Sunday, as "the voice of 'We the People,' " "the voice of reason" and the "voice of truth."
She opened with an explanation of her husband's universal health care plan and outlined his intention to invigorate the U.S. economy with an approach to job creation similar to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration.
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And she drew laughter as she used the blustery weather to segue into Kucinich's interest in sustainable energy sources such as wind and solar panels.
Audience members booed when Elizabeth Kucinich referred to recent decisions to exclude her husband from Democratic presidential debates in Nevada and South Carolina.
Gary Robbins of the Stanislaus County Democratic Central Committee; Michael Birch, president of the Turlock Democratic Club; and Patricia Hughes of the Central Valley Democratic Club organized the event.
"Dennis Kucinich is a true patriot who cares about the Constitution," said Leslie Howard, a member of the Central Valley Democratic Club. Howard said she was happy with the turnout because organizers had just two days to promote the talk. "We just hope to get a lot more people involved in the political process. And we're already seeing that in the primaries."
The Kucinich campaign stopped in Sacramento on Saturday and continued to Fresno on Sunday night.
Meg Coyle of Modesto brought her 9-year-old son, Liam, to hear Elizabeth Kucinich speak.
"It's unusual in Modesto to hear from a presidential candidate," said Coyle, a homemaker.
She appreciates Kucinich's stance against the war in Iraq but said the main reason she attended was to instill in her son the importance of political engagement.
Liam, a fourth-grader at Lakewood Elementary, said he hadn't heard much about the election or the candidates at school.
"Maybe (the teachers) aren't supposed to talk about it," he said.
Bee staff writer Emilie Raguso can be reached at email@example.com or 578-2235.