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Snuffing Out Drugs

In his first interview since his Feb. 1 confirmation, Attorney General John Ashcroft said he plans to make curbing drug use among youths one of his top three priorities.

The other two are stopping gun violence and ending discrimination, the Republican former senator from Missouri said on CNN's "Larry King Live" last week.

Mr. Ashcroft said that he and President Bush want to "concentrate on educating children away from drugs."

The administration has proposed a $25 million "Parents Drug Corps" to assist nonprofit organizations in educating parents to help prevent youth drug abuse.

Mr. Ashcroft also criticized former President Clinton's policies on drugs and his oft-quoted statement that he had once tried marijuana but did not inhale. The attorney general contended that Mr. Clinton's stance helped trigger an increase in marijuana use during the 1990s.

Mr. Ashcroft's nomination was opposed by some school officials and civil rights advocates because of his past stands against the costly court-ordered school desegregation plans in St. Louis and Kansas City.

Roemer To Retire

The 107th Congress had barely begun when Rep. Tim Roemer, D-Ind., a member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, announced his retirement.

Mr. Roemer, who will serve out his current term, announced Jan. 26 in South Bend, Ind., that he wants to spend more time with his wife and four young children.

Political observers also noted that Mr. Roemer might have faced a tough re-election battle in his conservative state after this year's redistricting process.

Mr. Roemer, a moderate, is a strong supporter of education initiatives such as charter schools and the so-called Ed-Flex program, which gives states waivers from some federal education regulations.

—Joetta L. Sack [email protected]

Vol. 20, Issue 22, Page 28

Published in Print: February 14, 2001, as Federal File

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