The Mideast: Starkly Different Responses
The current Mideast crisis provides another chilling reminder of the importance of the 2024 election and the experience and sanity the Biden Administration brings to international affairs. Ronald Brownstein provides an insightful comparison of initial responses by the President and his likely GOP challenger, noting "Biden delivered a powerful speech that was impassioned but measured in denouncing the Hamas terror attacks and declaring unshakable U.S. support for Israel." In contrast, Trump used the somber moment to deliver "exactly the sort of erratic, self-absorbed performance that his critics have said makes him unreliable in a crisis." Biden's approach to international affairs is bridge-building and "friend-shoring," notes Brownstein, while the indicted ex-president opted during his tenure "to pick sides, and that meant making enemies and adversaries unnecessarily." It's worth a reminder that the prior administration pulled out of a host of long-established international agreements and seemed to prefer authoritarian leaders over our allies --- efforts the Biden Administration worked quickly to repair following the 2020 election. Bottomline: the nightmare crisis in the Mideast will not be solved easily. Elections matter. We are fortunate to have President Biden at the helm.
Meanwhile, the GOP is doing its best to ensure the President and his administration have one hand tied behind their backs in addressing the current crisis. Hundreds of military nominations -- including key officers leading U.S. forces in the Middle East --- remain stalled by Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) in protest of the Pentagon’s abortion travel policy. Additionally, nominees for U.S. ambassador to Israel, Egypt, Oman, Kuwait, Lebanon, and the State Department’s counterterrorism coordinator await a hearing or floor vote. And the top USAID official for the Middle East has not been confirmed for three years. Contact FL Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio and demand they act to lift the blockade on military appointments, and fill critical diplomatic and national security positions immediately. You can also leave a message at the local offices: Scott - (904) 479-7227, Rubio - (904) 354-4300.
Finally, consider donating to aid the victims of this humanitarian crisis. If you need help deciding where to donate, here's valuable advice and a list of reputable organizations working in the area.
New Polling Locations Approved
The Jacksonville City Council last week approved new precinct lines and polling locations for the 2024 Presidential Primary on March 19th. The county now has 161 precincts, down from 181. Early Voting sites, however, have increased from 19 to 24, including a re-opened site at Edward Waters University. Duval Supervisor of Elections (SOE) Jerry Holland set a goal of having 75% of ballots cast during early voting. In the 2022 midterms, 41% of voters voted early, while 40% voted on Election Day and 19% voted by mail. Precincts have been redistributed within City Council districts in response to a lawsuit. Election Day polling sites at the Beaches were reduced from 14 to 11, impacting Neptune and Jax Beach. No sites were eliminated in Atlantic Beach. Precinct changes affect more than 300,000 of the county's 638,000 registered voters. The SOE office plans to send out information about the changes to voters in the coming weeks. These changes underscore the importance of voter education and Get Out the Vote (GOTV) activities prior to the 2024 elections. BAM has joined a host of other voting rights organizations in signing onto All Voting is Local's Pro-Voter Agenda. Click the link if you'd like to sign on and be sure to watch for voter outreach opportunities in the coming months.
Postcard Event A Success!
BAM's postcarding event supporting the FL League of Women Voters' Returning Citizen project was an awesome success! Twenty-eight volunteers, including members of BAM, Moms Demand Action, and the LWV from the beaches addressed more than 1,000 postcards to returning citizens (eligible ex-offenders who have completed their sentences) with information to help restore their voting rights. Thank you, volunteers!
Beaches DEMS Feature Katie Hathaway, Liz Andersen
at October 17 Meeting
Join the Beaches Democratic Club on Tuesday, October 17th at 6:30 p.m. at the Community Expo Hall in Sunshine Park at 2508 S. Beach Pkwy, Jacksonville Beach to hear Katie Hathaway from Moms Demand Action, and Elizabeth Andersen, former Chair of Duval County School Board.
Katie will speak on her new statewide role with Moms Demand Action, and the group's efforts to hold elected officials accountable and keep our community safe from gun violence. Elizabeth will speak about the issues before the Duval County School Board, the DCPS Superintendent search, as well as how recruitment is going for local and state candidates next year. RSVP here.
We Did It! Thanks for Supporting BAM!
Thanks to everyone who joined, renewed your dues, and donated to BAM this month! We exceeded our fundraising goal of $500 which will enable us to take full advantage of national Indivisible's dollar-for-dollar match opportunity during October. There is so much work to do to ensure we are successful in 2024. Thank you for investing in our efforts to safeguard democracy!
Volunteer Opportunity: Help Students Get Ready for College
Hive Mind Jax, a local non-profit, is looking for volunteers to help empower high school students from under-represented, low-income or diverse backgrounds to achieve college readiness and success. They are currently serving students at Fletcher High School and Sandalwood High School. Hive Mind is looking for mentors and tutors to work with students every other Saturday. If you are interested in this volunteer opportunity or if you want to learn more, reach out to BAM Board Member Elizabeth Andersen (904-806-1197).