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LOWERY RECEPTION
Paul Newton / The Southern Retired judge Don Lowery jokes with supporters during a fundraiser on Wednesday, Dec. 30, at 17th Street Bar and Grill in Marion. Lowery is running a U.S. Senate seat.

MARION — About 75 supporters gathered Wednesday for a fundraiser dinner at 17th Street Bar & Grill for U.S. Senate candidate Don Lowery, who said the group reflects what his efforts are all about.

“My opponents would like to make it a money game, but it’s about people like this who talk to their neighbor. We have not lacked in campaign funding for what we’re trying to achieve,” said Lowery, a former state circuit judge and Southern Illinois University Carbondale graduate who announced his candidacy for the Republican primary in July.

“Thirty-second bites on the media are not going to win this election. People are tired of that,” Lowery said amid the buzz of his supporters talking and eating together.

Lowery said during his candidacy announcement he was going to conduct a grassroots campaign and he said he’s been doing that, driving throughout the state in his truck to meet people.

“It’s a rude awakening. I’ve put more than 35,000 miles on my truck,” Lowery said as he greeted supporters at the door.

The Army veteran, whose tours of duty included Korea and Vietnam, said the issue he is getting questioned most is the federal health care reform bill that passed by a 60-39 vote in the Senate on Christmas Eve.

He said provisions of the bill he interprets as calling for $500 billion in cuts to Medicare while increasing usage fees to senior citizens “is raising the debt ceiling” and makes no sense in light of recent legislative action that calls for pay raises to U.S. senators.

He said recent state government scandal involving former Gov. Rod Blagojevich atte-mpting to sell the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama is not something exclusive to Illinois.

It’s the same kind of corruption in the news now, such as unique and generous amendments added to the bill to gain the support of Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., for final passage, Lowery said.

Lowery accused also the Louisiana Senate delegation of getting special treatment for its state in exchange for votes to approve the reform health bill.

“We don’t need change in Washington. We need correction,” Lowery said.

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