Saturday, August 8, 2015

Republican candidates for president debate in Cleveland on the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, Ohio Governor John Kasich gets heaviest amount of applause, Trump dominates spotlight....Jeb Bush pushes school vouchers and vows to destroy teachers unions....Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper tells Cleveland Urban News.Com that he "heard nothing from the candidates that Ohio families care about like jobs, increasing wages, and better communities and better schools".... The Greater Cleveland Immigrant Support Network rallies outside of the debate for Immigrants and against Trump and the Republican policies on immigration reform........By Field Reporter Johnette Jernigan and Editor Kathy Wray Coleman of Cleveland Urban News.Com, Ohio's leader in Black digital news

Top row from left: Former governor Jeb Bush of Florida, Dr. Ben Carson,  New Jersey 
Gov Chis Christie, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, and former governor  Mike Huckabee of Arkansas.

Bottom row from left: Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Real Estate Mogul Donald Trump, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott. Walker

The Rev Dr.  Martin Luther King  Jr. celebrates after then president Lyndon Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law. 

Ohio Democratic Party Chairman
David Pepper

Community activist and Greater Cleveland Immigrant Support Network President Don Bryant
By Field Reporter Johnette Jerigan and Editor Kathy Wray Coleman, editor-in-chief, Cleveland Urban News. Com and the Cleveland Urban News.Com Blog, Ohio's Most Read Online Black Newspaper and Newspaper Blog. Tel: 216-659-0473. Email: Jernigan has been a staff reporter for Cleveland Urban News.Com since 2012. Coleman is a 22-year political, legal and investigative journalist who trained for 17 years, and under five different editors, at the Call and Post Newspaper in Cleveland, Ohio. ( / (

CLEVELAND, Ohio-The top 10 candidates seeking the Republican nomination in 2016 for president of the United States of America debated before a capacity audience at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio on Thursday, August 6, the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which the candidates virtually ignored 

Republican dominated state legislatures across the country, particularly in the pivotal state of  Ohio,  have been chipping away at voting rights, an impetus for criticism by opposing Democrats that the Republican Party, in spite of its recent campaign to court the Black vote,  does not truly represent the interests of Black America. 

Real estate mogul and front-runner Donald Trump dominated the debate, and the spotlight for the evening, one field with watch parties held by Republican and Democratic affiliates across town, including at the City ClubConvention Center and Hard Rock Cafe in the heart of downtown Cleveland, which is undergoing a multi-million dollar restoration, compliments of Mayor Frank Jackson, Cleveland City Council, Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish,  and County Council. 

Ohio Gov John Kasich, who publicly announced his candidacy for president on June 21,  got the heaviest amount of applause during the two hour- long debate, which was not totally unexpected in the popular governor's  home state, and Sen Marco Rubio of Florida and retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson wooed political pundits with compassionate speeches on freedom and equality.

"Freedom is not free and everyone must fight for it," said Carson, a political neophyte and the only Black in the race, and who distinguished himself from the others as the only candidate to separate conjoined twins, a task he performed while practicing neurology at John Hopkins Hospital .

Carson also promoted his steam-lined flat-tax proposal that taxes the rich, the middle-class and the poor at a flat rate, which he said will give poor people pride, a 

that Congressional Democrats have soundly rejected as an excessive tax on the middle class and working poor.  

Governor of Ohio since 2011,  Kasich, 63, edged former Texas governor Rick Perry in the polls,  and beat out six other declared GOP candidates for the 10th spot on stage,  the first of 11 scheduled GOP debates in coming months. And the governor was comfortable on stage, and said that while he opposed same sex marriage, the Supreme Court decision issued this summer that legalized it nationwide should be "accepted as the law of the land."

Kirstin Alvanitakis, the communications director for the Ohio Democratic Party since May of this year who held the same post with the Louisiana Democratic Party in 2014, and with the Michigan Democratic Party in 2012, told Cleveland Urban News.Com at a debate watch party at the Garden Market Brewery on Cleveland's west side that "Kasich is doing a good job portraying a moderate, but we know in Ohio that he isn't a moderate."

"He attacked healthcare and worker's rights, and his economic record has been terrible," said Alvanitakis of Kasich, a former congressman and two-term governor who talked of a purported $1.5 billion surplus during his State of the Union address in February, and said then that unemployment in Ohio is "the lowest in a decade."

ODP Chairman David Pepper, who was among some 250 people at the ODP watch party, including state Rep. Janie Boyd (D-9), and Blaine Griffin, vice chair of the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party and the director of the Community Relations Board for the city of Cleveland, told Cleveland Urban News.Com that while Kasich did well in the debate, all of the GOP candidates overlooked issues that he believes are most important to the American people.  

"I have not heard anything that Ohio families care about like jobs, increasing wages, better communities, and better schools," said Pepper.

Midway through the debate, which was moderated by Chris Wallace and Megyn Kelly

of Fox News, which sponsored the political forum, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky sparred with New Jersey Gov Chris Christie over the overreach of government surveillance in terrorist investigations, and otherwise.

The son of former congressman Ron Paul of Texas,  a three time presidential candidate,   the younger Paul, also a licensed physician turned politician like his father, said that getting a warrant as required by the 4th Amendment would minimize government intrusions, and that he supports the Bill of Rights without reservation.

Christie, a former U.S District attorney and governor of New Jersey since 2010,   countered that time constraints, such as relative to the 9/11 terrorist attack in New York City, warrant immediate action, regardless of any constitutional guarantees.

“I want to collect more records from terrorists, but less records from innocent Americans,” said Paul, drawing Christie's rebuke that such a stance is "completely ridiculous."
Both Jeb Bush, a former governor of Florida,  and Mike Huckabee, a former governor of Arkansas,  offered more specific positions on foreign and domestic policy than the others,  and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who broke the unions in his conservative state,  did not hold his tongue in saying that police that illegally use excessive force should be held to consequences. 

Bush also geared up for a fight with organized labor and teachers unions,  and said that "challenging teachers unions and beating them is the way to go."

But Bush, whom critics said after the debate did not do as well as he should have as a front-runner next to Trump, was caught off guard when Kelly, a skilled and assertive moderator,  grilled him on weapons of mass destruction and his "brother's [former president George W. Bush] war."

Walker, and some of the other candidates,  took on Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination for president.

"Everything that Hillary touches is more messed up today," said Walker of Clinton,
former first lady and prior U.S.  senator representing New York who was secretary of state during the first term of President Obama, a two term Democratic president, and the nation's first Black president. 

Bush spoke on his alliance to school vouchers, and he and Sen. Cruz of Texas, and Trump,  attacked the Obama administration on Obamacare and immigration reform, with Cruz and Bush also crucifying and vowing to destroy Planned Parenthood, a non-profit organization that provides reproductive health as well as maternal and child health services, mainly for poor people, and working class women, and teens.

A son of former president George H. Bush, and a brother of former president George W. Bush, Jeb Bush, whose wife Columba Bush is Mexican-American,  said that most immigrants come to America legally, but that the United States must "secure the border."

All of the candidates opposed President Obama's nuclear proposal with Iran, and Bush said that ISIS is a by-product of President Obama's retreat of American troops

from Afghanistan. 

"We need to take on ISIS  with every toll at our disposal," said Bush, a sentiment echoed by Sen. Cruz, who called for a showdown with middle-eastern terrorist groups, and for Obama to "call out the radical and Islamic terrorists that are threatening the world.". 

Trump lived up to his reputation, and spurred on the other candidates, coupled with a heated exchange with moderator Kelly when she quizzed him on derogatory remarks he made about women, a key voting bloc for presidential elections. 
Twice divorced and trice married, currently to former German model Melania Trump, 45 and 24-years his junior, Trump leads his GOP counterparts in the polls, and became the center of the debate early on when he refused to agree to support one of the other GOP candidate's if he loses the nomination next year. He said that his $12 billion financial empire speaks for itself, and is a major reason why Americans should vote for him. 

"This country owes 19 trillion dollars and they need somebody like me to straighten out that mess," said Trump, 69, who also continued his anti-immigrant rhetoric that has increased his poll ratings in recent weeks among ultra-conservative Republican voters, and others.

The Rev Aaron Philips of the First Christian Church in Cleveland, a  Black Democrat and greater Cleveland community activist, told Cleveland Urban News.Com that he wants the monies garnered for the city from the profitable debate, which is a prelude to the Republican National Convention that the largely Black city of Cleveland will host in 2016, to "reach Cleveland neighborhoods."

Mayor Jackson, who is Black and announced that he will seek a fourth unprecedented term in 2017, prepared in part for the debate with a press release warning protesters  of a new city ordinance that limits protests without a permitamong other free speech-deterring requirements, though some groups picketed anyway, with or without a permit . 

"We are holding a stop the hate rally with the immigrants that have and need our support," greater Cleveland community activist Don Bryant told Cleveland Urban News.Com  before Thursday's protest.

President of the Greater Cleveland Immigrant Support Network, Bryant, a major organizer of the protest and an active participant in the Black Lives Matter Movement,  said that "immigrants are constantly discriminated against, and we support the Dream Act, and the president's policies on immigration reform, including a moratorium on deportation."

The debate comes on the heels of  controversial Cleveland police killings, including 12-year-old Tamir Rice, Tanisha Anderson, Malissa Williams, Timothy Russell, Daniel Ficker, and Kenneth Smith.

A court-monitored consent decree settlement on police reforms negotiated between the city and the U.S. Department of Justice was agreed upon  by the parties on June 12.

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