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Frightened kids ask candidates to protect them from school shooters

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NEWTON, Iowa — The moments happen all across the country. Tiny faces, peering out from behind their parents, or timidly accepting a microphone as the room falls silent. They make eye contact with a larger-than-life presidential candidate and ask: Can you keep me safe at school? Can you stop the shootings?

The questions from children have become a hallmark of the 2020 presidential campaign, with nearly every candidate facing some version of the same emotional query.

Perhaps Sen. Cory Booker was looking for a softball question when he called on 8-year-old Scout Maloney at a town-hall-event in Nashua, New Hampshire, last month. That isn’t what he got.

“What do you plan to do about school shootings?” Scout asked, telling Booker, D-N.J., that she and her brother are home-schooled in part because their parents fear they could become the victims of gun violence.

Scout Maloney hugs Sen. Cory Booker, D-NJ, at an event in New Hampshire in July.Courtesy of the Maloney Family

Booker told Maloney — and her parents — that he believes his is the strongest plan among the 2020 field to stop mass shootings, saying it would require national licensing and registration of firearms. He also added a personal touch.

“I get very tired, Scout, and I get angry,” he said, “because I’m a person of faith, and I hear these people coming up with thoughts and prayers, but I was taught faith without works is dead.”

In Scout’s case, her parents also attended the event, and encouraged their daughter to ask the question. In some cases, older students are members of advocacy groups, like Every Town for Gun Safety.

In the days after a mass shooting at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte campus in April, school safety was top of mind for middle school student Milan Underberg, who broke down while questioning Beto O’Rourke when he visited her classroom here in Newton.

“I’m afraid that one day I’ll go to school and I’ll never come out. … I’m sorry,” she said, pausing to collect herself and then continuing through tears. “What actions will you take to protect people like me and my classmates from this happening?”

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Jo Swinson preparing to demand ANOTHER election as well as scrap Brexit -‘Lost the plot!’

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LIBERAL DEMOCRATS leader Jo Swinson has admitted she is willing to throw the country into further chaos in the coming months by demanding another general election if no party receives a majority in the upcoming national vote.

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Washington state voters reject restoring affirmative action

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Washington voters have rejected a measure that would have overturned the state’s decadeslong ban on affirmative action — forcing state Democrats and advocates back to the drawing board.

“We’re obviously disappointed,” said April Sims, co-chair of Washington Fairness, the coalition that led the effort to approve the referendum. “But we remain committed to equity, opportunity and fairness — and that means a level playing field for everyone in Washington state.”

As mail-in ballots continued to be counted in the days after the general election on Nov. 5, advocates remained cautiously optimistic that the measure — which was narrowly trailing for much of the week — would experience a late boost.

On Tuesday night, with voters rejecting the measure by less than 1 percent, Washington Fairness conceded.

Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, said in a statement that the measure was an attempt to address “systemic inequities” that persist in work and education opportunities, and he will “continue to explore options that increase access to equitable opportunities and resources that reduce inequality.”

Earlier this year, the state’s Democratic-controlled Legislature pushed through an initiative to restore affirmative action shortly before the legislative session closed, but opponents moved quickly to block the law with a referendum.

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The political action committee Let People Vote opposed the Legislature’s move and collected over 200,000 signatures to place the issue on the Election Day ballot, handing its fate over to Washington voters.

John Carlson, a political commentator who spearheaded the campaign to strike down affirmative action in Washington over two decades ago, said that the measure’s passage would have been “unprecedented.”

“We’ve been moving in the direction of minimizing rather than magnifying race,” Carlson said in an interview before Election Day.

In 1998, Washingtonians passed an initiative that prohibited “preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin” within the public sector. It remains one of the nation’s longest-standing affirmative action bans.

Supporters of overturning the ban argued that since then, people of color have been discouraged from applying to public universities, and women and minorities have suffered from receiving fewer government contracts for their small businesses.

“This measure sent a strong message that Washington values fairness, and Washingtonians aren’t blind to the fact that the deck has been stacked against people of color and other marginalized individuals in our communities for decades, even centuries,” said Alison Holcomb, the political strategies director for ACLU of Washington.

However, Linda Yang, head of Washington Asians for Equality, voiced concern that the law would have adversely affected Washington’s Asian American community. She noted that in the absence of race-based affirmative action policies, 27 percent of the University of Washington freshmen enrolled this fall were Asian — compared with 8 percent of the statewide population.

“Our coalition of volunteers from across the political spectrum defeated [the measure] because voters didn’t want a new system of quotas based on race, nor did they want a massive new unaccountable government bureaucracy to implement it,” Yang said in a statement Tuesday night.

Asian Americans have recently become embroiled in the national debate surrounding affirmative action, with a high-profile lawsuit against Harvard alleging that its admissions process intentionally discriminated against Asian American applicants. In October, a federal judge ruled in favor of the university.

Currently, seven other states — Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire and Oklahoma — have bans on affirmative action. In 2014, California considered repealing its ban, but efforts ultimately tapered out amid fierce pushback from Asian Americans, among other groups.

Advocates of affirmative action remain hopeful that such policies will eventually be restored in Washington and in other states across the country.

“We ran a campaign that we are really proud of,” Sims said. “The results of this election show that nearly half of the folks who voted are ready to have that conversation, and we’re prepared to engage with them.”

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Jeremy Corbyn BLUNDER: Labour leader ‘did not know’ ISIS leader ‘blew himself up’

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JEREMY CORBYN has come under more fire for suggesting ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi should have been arrested and put on trial.

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