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Published: Tuesday, 8/24/2004

Heinz Kerry plans Thursday visit to Toledo


COLUMBUS - Teresa Heinz Kerry plans to visit Toledo on Thursday to focus on the economic pressures facing women, from "rising health-care and prescription-drug costs to balancing work and family," a campaign aide said yesterday.

Details on what time and where Mrs. Heinz Kerry will speak weren't available last night, said Brendon Cull, a spokesman for the Democratic Coordinated Campaign in Ohio.

Yesterday, the wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry spoke in Columbus to the AFL-CIO Coalition of Labor Union Women.

In response to a question from an audience member, who asked what "niche" she would choose if she becomes first lady, Mrs. Heinz Kerry said she would not limit herself.

"I'm not afraid to ask questions. In my mind, I would hope to be able to do the kind of convening of disparate, sometimes warring, factions on issues and make them see the common goal and work out common sense, smart answers to the problems of our world," she said.

Mrs. Heinz Kerry became chairman of the Howard Heinz Endowment and the Heinz Family Philanthropies after the death of first her husband, Sen. John Heinz of Pennsylvania, in a 1991 plane crash.

In yesterday's speech, Mrs. Heinz Kerry referred to Mr. Kerry's health-care proposals as "brilliant."

She said a federal "premium rebate" pool would enable businesses to be reimbursed for 75 percent of the cost of catastrophic care, which would be defined as the annual claims for an individual above a certain level.

Also, Mr. Kerry's plan calls for small businesses to receive tax credits to cover up to 50 percent of the cost of their share of premiums for low and moderate-income employees, Mrs. Heinz Kerry said.

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