Amber Mariano cut her four classes on Tuesday, but the third-year political science major at the University of Central Florida more than likely won’t be penalized by her professors. In fact, she might get extra credit.
Not only was she studying the political process, she was winning at it.
Mariano, a Republican candidate who turned 21 on Oct. 18, became the youngest person ever elected to the Florida House of Representatives, winning District 36 by 719 votes over incumbent Democratic Rep. Amanda Murphy. Before Mariano, the youngest person elected to the Florida House was Adam Putnam, who was 22 when he won in 1996 and is now Florida's Commissioner of Agriculture.
“It was honestly the best night of my life,” Mariano told WFTS.
The Tampa Bay Times reported that the margin was 50.5 percent to 49.5 percent out of 66,939 ballots cast in Pasco County, located north of the Tampa Bay area — according to final but unofficial results.
Mariano the youngest of any gender since 1996, when Adam Putnam, then 22, won his first statehouse race.
According to her website, Mariano gained experience on the issues of education and health care during her time working for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in Washington, D.C. During the 2016 Florida legislative session, she worked for state representatives Rene “Coach P” Plasencia and Scott Plakon. She received endorsements from Rubio and Florida Gov. Rick Scott.
Mariano, who plans to attend law school after graduation, is no stranger to politics. Her father, Jack Mariano, won re-election to a fourth term as a Pasco County commissioner.
“We didn’t expect this opportunity to present itself so quickly in her life,” Jack Mariano told WFTS. “But I will tell you at 6 years old she said she wanted to be the first woman president.
“So it’s been in her blood from way back when.”
“He says I’m leapfrogging him. He just wanted me to follow my dream,” Amber Mariano told WFTS. “And this is my dream.”
Wright State president David Hopkins announced Tuesday the university has withdrawn from hosting the first presidential debate in September.
He said Tuesday that Wright State is withdrawing as host of first presidential debate scheduled for Sept. 26, citing escalating costs for security and the inability to raise enough money.
Hopkins said in an exclusive interview that he was motivated in part by security concerns raised by the recent attack in Nice, France.
“I can’t assure the safety of our students and the community,” Hopkins said.
Hopkins informed the Commission on Presidential Debates at noon Tuesday, and hopes to recoup at least some of the $2 million fee that was paid to the commission in advance. Approximately $500,000 had been spent already on Nutter Center upgrades.
The university has raised about $3.5 million in contributions, state funding and in-kind pledges.
Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, was listed as the debate’s backup site.
The Commission on Presidential Debates posted this announcement on its website:
“In light of Wright State University’s announcement of earlier today, the September 26, 2016 Presidential Debate will be held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. The Commission very much appreciates Wright State’s efforts. Hofstra University served very successfully as a presidential debate site in 2012. On September 23, 2015, the Commission announced that Hofstra University had agreed to serve as an alternate site this debate cycle if needed. The Commission looks forward to working with Hofstra once again.”
The president of Wright State’s faculty union, Martin Kich, said canceling the debate was probably for the best.
“I think It’s unfortunate we’ve gotten two months away from it and we have to pull the plug on it. I don’t think that makes anyone look good," Kich said. "But if the alternative is we would be left with a sizeable financial liability because of this, then I think it’s the smart thing to do,” he said.
Kich said he felt the university was low-balling what the debate was actually going to cost.
“Under ideal circumstances, I think it would be a nice thing for the university to host this kind of an event, but given the financial issues the university is grappling with, from the start this seemed like a kind of dubious proposition.”
Growing tired of the endless Bernie memes or Trump posts on your Facebook feed?
A set of studies have found the reason why your social media connections feel the need to post their views.
The Huffington Post reports that a Harvard study found that sharing personal beliefs or feelings on social media works as a release for people because it rewards them for letting something out rather than keeping it in. “Expressing beliefs that are important to you functions as a self-affirmation,” psychology professor Joshua Hart of Union College told The Huffington Post. “It reminds you of the values that are central to your identity, and this gives you a psychological boost.”
A study by the Pew Research Center found that the people posting their opinions on social media are “less likely to share their opinions in face-to-face settings” because people are more likely to feel safer giving out their retorts when behind a computer screen rather than in person. “They’re expressing themselves in a forum where they’re likely to get a reaction, whether it’s the one they want or not,” Hart told The Huffington Post.
Hart said most people who post are also looking for the approval of others and “become more confident in their beliefs” when more people like, retweet or comment on the post. The Huffington Post said that there is not very much difference between Republicans, Democrats and independents regarding the number of posts with the leading posts on your own feed most likely factoring in based on your location.
Read more at The Huffington Post.
On Thursday, a group of conservatives aimed at keeping Donald Trump from becoming the Republican nominee for president, met in Washington D.C. to test the winds on a plan or plans to stop the New York billionaire’s run for the White House.
Organized by conservative activists Bill Wichterman and Bob Fischer along with right-wing radio host Erick Erickson, and held at the Army and Navy Club in Washington, “Conservatives Against Trump” had some two dozen participants – most all of whom said they would not talk specifics on the record about what happened.
The only officiall response from the group came from a press release posted by Erickson on his website, the Resurgent.
The Statement read:
“We are a group of grassroots conservative activists from all over the country and from various backgrounds, including supporters of many of the other campaigns. We are committed to ensuring a real conservative candidate is elected. We believe that neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump, a Hillary Clinton donor, is that person.
"We believe that the issue of Donald Trump is greater than an issue of party. It is an issue of morals and character that all Americans, not just those of us in the conservative movement, must confront.
"We call for a unity ticket that unites the Republican Party. If that unity ticket is unable to get 1,237 delegates prior to the convention, we recognize that it took Abraham Lincoln three ballots at the Republican convention in 1860 to become the party’s nominee and if it is good enough for Lincoln, that process should be good enough for all the candidates without threats of riots.
"We encourage all former Republican candidates not currently supporting Trump to unite against him and encourage all candidates to hold their delegates on the first ballot.
"Lastly, we intend to keep our options open as to other avenues to oppose Donald Trump. Our multiple decades of work in the conservative movement for free markets, limited government, national defense, religious liberty, life, and marriage are about ideas, not necessarily parties.”
While most held their tongue about the meeting, some shared some general themes discussed there. Here are a few of the things discussed at the meeting on Thursday, according to some participants.
1. Getting a third party on the ballot. "It's certainly not too late," Rep. Trent Franks, (R-Ariz.) and a Ted Cruz supporter, who attended the session said. "You could get another party on the ballot. A candidate could be picked as late as August. … It would have to be a movement conservative. I was there to listen. I am worried about the kind of damage that Trump could cause to our party. … As a conservative, I can’t trust Donald Trump to do the right thing,” Franks told The Washington Post. “However, I can trust Mrs. Clinton to do the exact wrong thing. Therefore, if it comes down to a one-on-one contest, I would vote for Trump."
2. Working prior to the convention to support Ted Cruz, thus eliminating the need for another candidate or a fight on the convention floor.
3. Probably not working so hard for Ohio Gov. John Kasich would need more than 100 percent of the delegates left to be allotted to get to the 1,237 number needed for the nomination.
>> How many delegates does Donald Trump have?
Also on Thursday
Trump has said that “riots would result” if his path to the nomination is blocked at a contested Republican convention this summer in Cleveland. Speaker of the House, Rep. Paul Ryan, warned against talk of riots, and said he believes that a contested convention is now more likely to happen. It will be the first since 1976. Ryan, as Speaker, is in charge of running the convention.
What’s happened already
2. Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, (R-Kty.), has a plan that would have lawmakers break with Trump explicitly before the general election.
3. Kasich advisers say the Ohio governor is shooting for a convention battle in which he believes he can win.
4. Tech CEOs and business billionaires traveled to an island off the Georgia coast two weeks ago to take part in the American Enterprise Institute World Forum, a meeting held annually. The main topic of the meeting, though not intended to be so to begin with, was how to stop the Trump candidacy. Those attending the meeting included: Apple CEO Tim Cook, Google co-founder Larry Page, Napster creator and Facebook investor Sean Parker, and Tesla Motors and SpaceX honcho Elon Musk all attended. So did Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), political guru Karl Rove, House Speaker Paul Ryan, GOP Sens. Tom Cotton (Ark.), Cory Gardner (Colo.), Tim Scott (S.C.), Rob Portman (Ohio) and Ben Sasse (Neb.), who recently made news by saying he “cannot support Donald Trump.” Rep. Fred Upton (Mich.), Rep. Kevin Brady (Texas) and almost-Speaker Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.), Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.), Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (Texas) and Diane Black (Tenn.).
5. Republican Party donors are debating whether or not to continue funding the dump-Trump effort. Some of those donors – New York hedge-fund manager Paul Singer and members of the Chicago Cubs-owning Ricketts family – are expressing doubts over the effectiveness of their spending on anti-Trump advertising.
6. According to reporting from Politico, anti-Trump groups have outlined a state-by-state bid to keep Trump from getting the 1,237 delegates he needs to secure the Republican nomination. That would force a contested convention this summer in Cleveland.
A Georgia sheriff has received an unusual endorsement in his bid for re-election.
Victor Hill, who is running for sheriff against four other competitors, accidentally shot Gwenevere McCord last year, yet she threw her support behind him in a 12-second robocall to county voters late last week, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has reported.
>>Read more trending stories
“Hi! This is Gwenevere McCord and on May 24 I will be voting for Sheriff Victor Hill because he’s the most effective sheriff this county has ever had. Please join my family and I and vote Sheriff Victor Hill,” the Jonesboro resident said in the recording.
It is believed to be the first time McCord, who was critically injured in the shooting, has publicly made any statement about Hill, who is seeking a third term as sheriff.
McCord was shot May 3 while Hill was demonstrating police maneuvers to her at a Gwinnett County model home where McCord worked as a real estate broker at the time.
McCord and Hill were the only two people inside the home at the time of the shooting. McCord was shot in the abdomen and had numerous surgeries and other procedures. She lost a kidney, spleen and part of her large intestine as a result of the shooting, her father Ernest McCord said previously.
Hill was charged with reckless conduct, a misdemeanor.
>>Read more trending stories
The head of the county Democratic party said McCord’s endorsement seems to show there’s no bad feelings between the two.
“She said it was an accident and now she’s proving that by endorsing him,” said Pat Pullar, chairwoman of the Clayton County Democratic Party and a political consultant.
Nonetheless, another political observer called the endorsement “unusual” in a political career marked by setbacks and comebacks.
“It’s unusual that a sheriff would have shot someone other than carrying out his responsibility as sheriff,” said Charles Bullock, professor of political science at The University of Georgia. “And it is unusual that the victim would turn around and say ‘although he shot me, he’s a great person to return to office’.
With four other challengers in the race, the crowded field may “suggest that a number of people view Sheriff Hill as vulnerable,” Bullock said.
Compiled from Associated Press and Florida News Service reports.
Students excused from having to daily recite the Pledge of Allegiance in Florida public schools would no longer have to stand and hold their hands over their heart either, under a bill that is headed to the House floor.
The House Education Committee on Wednesday unanimously approved a bill (HB 1403) that would change how students are notified of their right to skip the daily pledge and what the excused student must do during the pledge.
Current law requires schools to conspicuously post a notice, telling students they don’t have to recite the pledge if a parent asks in writing for a student to be excused. The law also requires excused students to still stand and hold their hands over their hearts while the pledge is recited.
The bill would allow the notice to instead be placed in a student handbook, and excused students would no longer be required to stand or hold their hands over their hearts.
The bill was filed after a parent of a child at a Panhandle school told the school district it was not following notice requirements. A Senate companion bill has not yet been heard in the first of its three required committees.
A Michigan mayor said residents who wanted to plead with the City Council to save their homes couldn't speak because officials had a pizza party planned after the meeting.
Randy Walker, the mayor of Garden City, and City Council members walked out of a session without listening to the concerns of at least seven former homeowners facing eviction.
Walker said the meeting’s main purpose was to swear in new officials.
“It’s a happy occasion,” Walker said. “We had food waiting. We had pizza coming out of the oven at 7:45 (p.m.)”
“That’s a (poor) excuse,” Nicholis P. Dunsky told The Detroit News. “We felt like we didn’t matter.”
Dunsky's home was foreclosed because of back taxes, and he faces eviction. He brought his family to the council meeting.
According to The News, Walker said those meetings generally don't allow public comment.
Read more here.
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