Jesse Jackson Helps Cut Ribbon - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Jesse Jackson Helps Cut Ribbon

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KENNEWICK, Wash.- One of the most famous civil rights leaders in the world is in the Tri-Cities.

The Reverend Jesse Jackson is getting ready to speak about medical isotope breakthroughs coming from right here in our area.

"We can cure cancer, we can cure HIV," Reverend Jackson said.

It took the Reverend nearly five minutes just to take his place at Wednesday's ceremony.  Wading through thick crowds, Jackson shook almost every hand on his way in, and made his message clear.  

"This transcends politics, this is not about republicans, this is about the republic, it's not about democrats it's about the democracy, it's about advancing the cause of human life and sparing lives," he said.

Jackson helped cut the ribbon for Advanced Medical Isotope's new production facility, a production line he thinks can help the country jump further into the world's isotope production mix.

"He's really embraced the issue of why it isn't more of a national debate or nationally funded programs, and that's why he's here," said Bill Stokes with the company.

In recent years, Jackson has become an outspoken advocate of isotope treatments for cancer, and HIV/AIDS, where he thinks breakthroughs are coming.  

"Insurance will not save your life, research will save your life, and the cure will save your life, so we're not talking about your insurance, talking about the research and cure," he said.

Among the hundreds who turned out was Karol Moser, who was there to get her shirt autographed by the Reverend.

"Hoping that I could get his attention because I think it's so marvelous that he came to the tri-cities community," Moser said.

Jackson hopes his impact is felt.

"You're losing 500,000 lives a year to cancer, millions to HIV/AIDS, we must not leave a stone unturned," he said.

Jackson is just getting ready to talk on this issue Wednesday night at the convention center in Kennewick