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Your e-mails: What Democrats should do first

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(CNN) -- Democrats will be taking control of Congress when the new session begins in January. We asked CNN.com users to tell us what the Democrats' priorities should be. Here is a selection of your e-mails, some of which have been edited for length and clarity.

William Blackerby from Birmingham, Alabama
1. Press the president to get us out of Iraq as soon as possible. 2.Demand an end to prisoner abuse and torture, and secret prisons. Insist that the Geneva Conventions be completely upheld. 3. Insist that the president mend fences with our traditional allies. 4. Increase the minimum wage. 5. Universal health care for all Americans. 6. See that the rich pay their fair share of the taxes. 7. Encourage the development of alternative fuels. 8. Pardon Third World debt.

David Weuste from Guthrie, Oklahoma
The Democrats have finally gotten their power and now they need to show the world that they deserved it. First things first, get the world back on our side. Reconnect with our allies and the feelings of the world when it comes to foriegn policy. Work to make visible moves that we are going to leave Iraq, but not in a way that seems like we are deserting a people that we have brought so much destruction to.

Susan Sydnor from Greensboro, North
Carolina The Democrats MUST come up with and implement a plan to get out of Iraq!

Adam Hall of California, Maryland The Democrats would be wise to not lose sight of internal issues to the United States, specifically raising the minimum wage, finding a better solution for Social Security, cutting pork funding, and creating a surplus in order to deter the massive deficit our country is now facing. The war in Iraq is important, but these issues cannot be cast aside.

Matt Clark from Saint Charles, Missouri
What should the Democrats do first? Step down. That'd be the only productive thing they are capable of doing to secure America and its future.

Susan Jordan from Roseburg, Oregon
Besides advising Hillary Clinton not to run in 2008, the Democrats should work across party lines to implement a timed withdrawal from Iraq, then their efforts should be directed toward funding projects to improve the country's aging highway systems, getting rid of the "no child left behind" program, and transferring funding from defense to programs that help the elderly and children to receive proper medical and dental care.

Millisa Bell from Fort Myers, Florida The Democrats should put serious focus on the very real climate change occurring. Otherwise, every other issue we are expending energies on will be moot.

Bartley Guinn from McKinney, Texas
You have a ton of baby boomers reaching retirement age. They are all saying the same thing. I have paid income tax all of my working life and now I may have to pay income tax on my earned and deserved Social Security benefits. This is absolutely and totally ridiculous. Do something about it and you will get the over 55 vote forever, and there are a lot of us.

Joseph Barrett from Mashpee, Massachusetts
I want the Democratic Party to thank the voters. I don't want Democrats to forget why they were put into positions of power, however. The voters want the Democrats to hit the ground running; start talking about how we can lower gas prices, how we can begin to leave the Middle East and how we can reunite as a country.

Ted Steinberg from Redwood City, California
Buy duct tape, put it over their mouths and pray that it holds. Gloating is what Newt Gingrich and his minions did in 1994 after the GOP won. Gloating politicians rarely remember to find humility until the other shoe drops.

Matthew Bedford from Cookeville, Tennessee
Get rid of the Patriot Act, as well as every other act that restricts freedom in the name of security. Have a House committee go over classified information and declassify anything that is not truly a threat to national security. Challenge the president in a meaningful manner when he invokes terror to pass a bill. Take away the president's ability to wage war as he sees fit. Cut the "defense" budget in half and raise taxes for corporations and the top percent in order to pay America's bills. Stop the politicization of science. Raise environmental standards to those of the rest of the civilized world. Give the president a reprimand at the very least for Iraq. But most of all, second-guess the president to keep our government balanced. It won't make the terrorists win.

Jeffrey Kean from Chicago, Illinois
I think their first priority must be to root all the remaining vestiges of corruption, even within their own ranks. People need to believe that Congress is working for them, not for the biggest donors. Once this is done, they ideally can move forward in achieving some of the populist goals the party is ostensibly based on

Monte Schatz from Omaha, Nebraska
My simple advice to any party assuming power is have the courage to reach the middle ground and the pragmatic legislation that reflects the will and values of most of America. Democrats, stop reaching to the far left. Republicans, stop pandering to the far right. The results will be amazing.

Mel Liles from Stockbridge, Georgia
More than anything else, we need to enact clean money campaigns and put strict limits on the power of corporate lobbyists. Their money has proven to be more powerful than the voice of middle-class working people. If this is made a priority, it will have a domino effect on most other political problems we have.

Farhan Hamlani from Union, New Jersey
1. Money is one of the most important assets that our government has. So, come up with a strategy to balance the budget and implement it. 2. Formulate a unified strategy on Iraq for stabilization of Iraq and pullout of troops and work with President Bush to implement it. 3. Formulate a sensible policy on immigration and border security. 4. Education, education, education. Come up with a policy that will ensure that Americans are the most well-educated and productive people in the world.

Kevin Regan from Montgomery, Illinois
1. Make Election Day a national holiday. 2. Start impeachment hearings on Cheney and Bush.

Christopher Ryan from Seattle, Washington
Do what they say they are going to do, pass the minimum wage, immigration reform and stem cell research for starters. Keep the promises they just made with country.


story.hoyer.pelosi.bush.jpg

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, left, House speaker-to-be Rep. Nancy Pelosi and President Bush confer Thursday. All agreed they must work together.

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