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Democrats Sweep Virginia, New Jersey Governor’s Races in Key 2017 Election

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Tuesday night was a big win for Democrats in some of the nation’s largest cities—setting the stage for a new vision and a much needed unified party platform when looking ahead at momentum for 2018.

President Donald Trump’s election a year ago sent ripples throughout the fabric of the Democratic Party. An anticipated election stemming from a Trump presidency, prompted many across the nation to measure Trump’s influence on state and local election results and voter turnout.

The outcome of the election described by some political pundits across media outlets, as a referendum on Trump—most likely pointed to the president’s approval ratings—which sunk to a new low of 36 percent in a CNN poll released on Monday, a day before Election Day.

Voters in Virginia and New Jersey turned out in record numbers to give Democratic gubernatorial candidates large victories Tuesday—sending a clear and resounding message of rebuke to Republican President Donald Trump.

A contested race to watch—many weighed in on the Virginia governor’s race Tuesday evening, fixated on the results, to include many other significant races on election night. Among the most important races on Tuesday night;

In Virginia’s hard-fought contest, Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam defeated Republican Ed Gillespie. In New Jersey, front-running Democrat Phil Murphy crushed Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno to succeed unpopular GOP Gov. Chris Christie.

Democrat Ralph Northam won the governor’s race in Virginia on Tuesday with nearly 54 percent of the vote, defeating Republican candidate Ed Gillespie, who Trump has since distanced himself from.

Among the groups to swing heavily in Northam’s favor were nonwhite voters, white women with a college degree and those concerned about health care, according to exit polls.

The Democrats’ victory extended beyond the gubernatorial election, with the party securing the lieutenant governor and attorney general races. Democrats also won at least 14 seats in the state’s House of Delegates and could gain control of the chamber for the first time since 2000, depending on the outcomes of four races that qualify for recount, The Washington Post reported.

In another highly publicized race, Democrat Danica Roem replaced a 13-year incumbent Republican to become the first transgender person in the Virginia legislature. The losing candidate, incumbent Republican Robert Marshall, was the author of a controversial, failed bill regulating transgender bathroom use in schools and other government buildings.”

Ralph Northam and Virginia Democrats Sweep State Elections

Tuesday’s electoral results according to election night winners—had far-reaching repercussions in a sharply divided country. “Virginia has told us to end the divisiveness, that we do not condone hatred and bigotry,” Northam said.

Virginia Gov.-elect Ralph Northam walks onstage to celebrate his election at the Northam For Governor election night party at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA., Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen) (Associated Press)

Phil Murphy, a former Goldman Sachs executive and Obama-era ambassador to Germany, soundly defeated Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno Tuesday night in the New Jersey gubernatorial race. Guadagno struggled to distance herself from the term-limited Gov. Chris Christie, whose popularity plummeted during his second term amid scandals, including Bridgegate, that tainted his political career and helped sink his 2016 presidential bid.

Phil Murphy, Governor-elect of New Jersey, speaks at his election night victory rally in Asbury Park, New Jersey, U.S., November 7, 2017. Photo Credit: (Reuters)

Murphy, who has never before held office, promised to “raise income taxes on millionaires, increase funding for public schools and pensions and legalize marijuana,” The Associated Press reported.

“The days of division are over. We will move forward,” Murphy said in his own victory speech, invoking Trump by name as he looked headed to a double digit win. Murphy, who earned a fortune at Goldman Sachs before serving as Barack Obama’s ambassador to Germany, delivered his address in the same spot as Christie in his 2013 re-election— after Christie won big over his Democratic rival.

The wins in Virginia and New Jersey signaled the Democratic party Trump’s stronghold had weakened. Before Tuesday night’s election, the Democratic Party faced numerous challenges when channeling anti-Trump energy into success at the ballot box in a major election this year.

Northam, the state’s lieutenant governor, repeatedly sought during long months of divisive campaigning to tie Gillespie to the president. His victory was in large part due to the surge in anti-Trump sentiment since the president took office. Democrats said they had record levels of enthusiasm heading into the race in Virginia, a swing-state and the only Southern state Trump lost last year.

Gillespie, meanwhile, sought to keep Trump at a distance throughout the campaign but tried to rally the president’s supporters with hard-edge attack ads focused on illegal immigration and preserving Confederate statues. The strategy was criticized by Democrats and some Republicans as race baiting, but drew praise from former Trump strategist Steve Bannon and others as a canny approach in a state that voted for Hillary Clinton last year.

Trump lent limited pre-election support to Gillespie with robocalls and tweets.

In one call, Trump said Gillespie shared his views on immigration and crime and would help “Make America Great Again.” Trump also said Northam would be a “total disaster” for Virginia.

After Tuesday’s loss, Trump wrote in a “Tweet” that Gillespie hurt himself by not more closely aligning himself with the president.

Northam’s victory is a blow to Republicans, who were hoping that Gillespie could provide a possible roadmap for moderate Republicans to follow in next year’s midterm elections. Several Republicans have announced plans to retire next year instead of seeking re-election, and Gillespie loss may prompt more such announcements.

A former White House aide to President George W. Bush and a Washington lobbyist, Gillespie struck a humble tone in his concession speech as he offered support to Northam. Gillespie wiped tears from his eyes while thanking his wife and said the million people who voted for him love Virginia, and so do those who disagree with them.

“And I know they too are rooting for our new governor to succeed because we all love the commonwealth of Virginia,” Gillespie said.

The mood was subdued at Gillespie’s gathering at a Richmond-area hotel, with supporters not shocked at the outcome but surprised at how poorly Republicans did. Democrats swept all three of Virginia’s statewide races and nearly wiped out Republicans’ overwhelming majority in the Virginia House of Delegates on Tuesday. A handful of races that will decide control of the body remaining too close to call.

Gillespie supporter Elsa Smith said Republicans needed to do a better job of appealing to minorities if they want to win future races.

“We are not taking care of the demographics the way we should,” said Smith, an owner of a Spanish translation business.

Democrats were gleeful at Northam’s victory party. U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly called Northam the “perfect antidote” to the president.

“This is a comprehensive victory from the statehouse to the courthouse. Thank you, President Trump,” Connolly said.

New York City Mayor de Blasio Wins Re-Election by Landslide

 

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) gives a thumbs-up after casting his vote in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn on Tuesday. (Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters)

Mayor Bill de Blasio defeated Republican Nicole Malliotakis with 66.5 percent of the vote to begin a second term as New York City mayor, The New York Times reported. This marks the first time a Democratic mayor has won a re-election in over three decades. De Blasio, a Democrat who was endorsed by Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and is known for his progressive politics, was expected to sail easily into office.

New York voters Tuesday also rejected the idea of a constitutional convention, in which elected delegates would have the opportunity to propose changes to the state’s constitution. Voters are presented with the option every 20 years, but the last convention was held in 1967 and the document has not been changed since the 1930s.

The Democratic victories mark Virginia’s shift toward a more liberal electorate. Democrats have won every statewide election since 2009 and now have won four out of the last five gubernatorial contests. Northam, pediatric neurologist and Army doctor, banked heavily during the campaign on his near-perfect political resume and tried to cast himself as the low-key doctor with a strong Southern drawl as the healer to Trump’s divisiveness.

Meanwhile, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy, a former Wall Street banker and ambassador to Germany, won in a landslide in New Jersey and will replace the outgoing two-term Republican Gov. Chris Christie, whose poll numbers are the lowest in the office’s history.

Dave Wasserman, a polling expert who edits the nonpartisan and others argued that Democrats’ decisive wins Tuesday were an early indicator of the party’s strength entering the 2018 midterm elections.

“You can’t really look at tonight’s results and conclude that Democrats are anything other than the current favorites to pick up the U.S. House in 2018,” Wasserman tweeted.

By LeNora Millen                     11-08-17

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Lifestyle

Freedom Is A Choice! “I am grabbing God’s coattail and letting Him lead”

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Freedom has a deeper meaning for those like Omar Howard. Just a little over a decade ago he was released, seemingly free from the restraints of prison. Yet, walking out of the doors he had no clue he would be entering into the harsh prison of life that follows those like him who have a record. That record makes it hard for them to have the basic level of freedom that most of us who have never been down that road take for granted. Howard is like multiple men and women who are released from jail with a plan to change but have to fight the “system”. Howard describes his “beginning” as working endless opportunities just to make ends meet and being told “no” repeatedly. It would have been easy for Howard to just go back to the life of crime. Why wouldn’t he? Why didn’t he? His response, “You have to make a conscious decision to change every day. Life is about choices, every choice leads to a destination and you have to believe God is in control”. This thought process and his tenacity led him to his current place and receiving his pardon January 2018, just a month after celebrating his ten year release.

Howard was 15 when he dropped out of school and started down a path to destruction. Hard robbery was the crime that would ultimately change his life and leave him with no choice but to accept a plea deal that resulted in an 18 year sentence from a “hit” that left a man being killed. Howard maintains his innocence in the murder and has apologized to the family for the part that he played. Although he doesn’t blame his childhood for his choices, he does state that it’s important that parent’s play an essential part in the lives of the children that you bring into this world. “Parental intimacy is important, create structure for your kids and let them know how much you love them. Fathers, be a part of your children’s lives or they will embrace their counterparts for support. Be transparent and talk to your kids about real issues.”

When asked, What would you say to your younger self? Howard responds, “Establish a relationship with God. Embrace the process, strive harder and KNOW THAT YOU HAVE A PURPOSE.” The same thoughts he now shares with the youth that are involved with his foundation “Freedom is a Choice, Inc., a mentoring program for at-risk teens. It is evident that Howard is a changed man, as a Chaplain at the Atlanta Transitional Center in midtown, he speaks hope to those who are where he once was. He is a featured speaker in the documentary “Released” When Does the Sentence End?” and most recently shared his story on Iyanla Vanzat’s “Fix My Life” show. He is a man of action and on a mission to keep as many young men from walking in his shoes by exposing them to better. He is a sought after motivational speaker and hopes to extend his program to have one of the largest faith-based youth centers very soon. It is nothing short of amazing, but his ability to serve and give makes him a blessing.

Read more about The Omar Howard Story. 

 

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Lifestyle

Is This Life?

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Media headlines are displaying disaster all over the world with no resolve. From children being killed in innocent shootouts because of the flaws in gun laws to sexual abuse cases on the rise. Our government has gone haywire and currently dominating the spotlight while, deadly diseases and mental illnesses are being minimized. Is this life? Is this what life is becoming? Every morning we wake up to the sound of breaking news and headlines that make us cringe. Positive stories and encouraging words have become harder to find. When asking others, “How do you deal with the negative energy every day?” Some reply, “I don’t. I don’t watch the news, or I don’t listen to it.” My reply is usually this, “It isn’t just on the news. It’s walking or sitting right beside you and sometimes it’s even in your household. There are people suffering every day because of the things we don’t do, don’t want to see, or simply don’t want to get involved in.” We have been conditioned to not get in anyone else’s business unless it affects us personally. Look around you, open your eyes. It’s now affecting us all and we must do something. This is a call for action. It’s time we all unselfishly take part in rebuilding our communities. Make it your business to do something intentional every day in an effort to make a change in your community and begin to push everyone including yourself out of the comfort of just accepting what is. We are losing innocent lives every day to drug abuse, domestic violence, hunger, contaminated water and the list of disasters that are happening right under our nose increase, every second, every minute and every hour of every day.

You may be wondering what you can do to promote positive change in your community, here is a start:

  • Volunteer at shelters-Everyone has something they can provide-share your expertise. Help by donating your goods and knowledge.
  • Volunteer at schools-Teachers need more mentors and positive role models. We all have a story, share your experience and give a child a blueprint to a better life.
  • Spend quality time with your kids and your family- We get so caught up in life that we forget to nourish what we have already been blessed with. Take time to water the seeds you planted.
  • Contact your political partners and work with them on change for your community. What do you see in your area that would be an easy fix to reduce crime or poverty. Make a plan and Expose it!

There are so many things that we can do to change the direction of this world but WE must work together for the good and it doesn’t matter what religion, race or sex you are-we all have something in common. We want the best for our families.
Post and share your thoughts on what you can do to expose and improve your community. Hashtag#exposuremagazine #isthislife

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Cubs Sign Pitcher Yu Darvish to $126 Million Deal in Preparation for Next Title Run

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Making one of the biggest splashes this off-season, the Chicago Cubs have added pitcher Yu-Darvish, formerly of the Los Angeles to their talented, but imperfect roster.

The deal for Darvish standing at $126 million also comes with an opt out clause along with performance clauses to increase the value of the deal. The Cubs had been in talks with Darvish for a good portion of the last season, but now apparently was the best time for both parties.

Despite the unceremonious ending to last season in the NLCS, the Cubs have been in a better place these past several seasons than they have been in a long while. The signing of Darvish to say the least is a very good insurance policy to sustain this run.

With names like Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks, Darvish will complete the rotation for one of the most talented group of pitchers in baseball. However this move seems to nudge Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta who is currently a free agent to the door. Arrieta had an up and down season with flashes of greatness, but ultimately didn’t make the best case to remain with the ball club.

Wild Card Game - Chicago Cubs v Pittsburgh Pirates

Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta

Darvish brings a 2.4 ERA against National League Central opponents as well as his all-time MLB leading 11 strikeouts per nine innings ratio to the Cubs which makes this the pickup many other teams are coveting right now. The Cubs begin spring training in a week and can begin integrating Darvish then in preparation for the upcoming season.

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