At Fort Pierce rally, Clinton makes call for more national service

Hillary Clinton told supporters at a Fort Piece rally Friday that expanding opportunities for Americans to perform public service will be an integral part of her presidency.

With her opponent, Donald Trump, fighting against assumptions that he has paid little or no federal income taxes and with questions swirling around the work of his charitable foundation, Clinton said she wants to triple AmeriCorps and establish a 5-million person strong “National Service Reserve.”

AmeriCorps, the volunteer agency her husband, Bill Clinton, established during his presidency, would go from 75,000 slots to 250,000 slots, under Clinton’s plan. She also said she wants to double the number of college scholarships available to AmeriCorps participants.

Clinton’s National Service Reserve would work much as the armed service reserves does – allowing volunteers to serve infrequently while holding onto jobs or remaining a full-time student.

“I want this to be a true bipartisan public-private partnership,” she told supporters at Fort Pierce’s Sunrise Theater.

Speaking before heading to Coral Springs for another campaign event, Clinton used her call for expanded public service to contrast her message with that of Trump.

 

“I don’t think you’ll hear about any of this from my opponent,” she said. “I think that’s a shame.”

Before Clinton took the stage, U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel poked Trump on the issue of public service.

Clinton, Frankel said, is dedicated to public service. “The kind of service where you help people,” she said, “not the kind of service where you help yourself.”

Clinton’s campaign stop in Fort Pierce got off to a bumpy start, as hundreds of her supporters crowded the entrance to the Sunrise Theater, waited under a broiling sun to be screened by U.S. Secret Service agents. Trump supporters penned them in, waving placards and chanting anti-Clinton slogans.

Before long, campaign aides came to escort reporters and elected officials through to the waiting agents. Her supporters waited a bit longer. Once inside, they were enthusiastic, cheering her remarks with vigor.

Clinton said she knows its unusual to approach the close of a presidential campaign with a call for expanded public service instead of slashing attacks on her opponent. Then she paused…”I’ll do that, but…,” she said as the crowd laughed.

“I’ve been thinking about this for a long time,” she said. “I didn’t want to end this campaign without talking about it.”

Clinton supporters waiting to enter the Sunrise Theater Friday in Fort Pierce. (Wayne Washington/The Palm Beach Post)
Clinton supporters waiting to enter the Sunrise Theater Friday in Fort Pierce. (Wayne Washington/The Palm Beach Post)

 

 

Local woman whose son died in Afghanistan to speak at Republican convention

A podium microphone and teleprompters stand ready on stage ahead of the Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans Arena on July 16, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. The RNC is set to begin on July 18. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
A podium microphone and teleprompters stand ready on stage ahead of the Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans Arena on July 16, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. The RNC is set to begin on July 18. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Nearly five years to the day since her son was killed when the Chinook helicopter he and 29 other U.S. service members were on crashed in Afghanistan, Stuart resident Karen Vaughn will take her message of support for the military to the Republican National Convention.

Vaughn is one of dozens of speakers slated for primetime during the four-day-long convention, which begins Monday.

And she’s set to speak on opening night.

This undated family photo, provided by the US Navy shows Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class, Aaron C. Vaughn, 30, of Stuart. Vaughn was killed on Aug. 6, 2011. (US Navy)
This undated family photo, provided by the US Navy shows Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class, Aaron C. Vaughn, 30, of Stuart. Vaughn was killed on Aug. 6, 2011. (US Navy)

“It’s very emotional to think of everything that’s transpired in that amount of time,” Vaughn said. “It’s very overwhelming.”

Navy SEAL Aaron Carson Vaughn was 30 years old when he was killed on Aug. 6, 2011. In addition to Vaughn and the 29 other U.S. troops killed when the helicopter crashed, eight Afghans and a U.S. military dog also died. Aaron Vaughn left behind a wife, Kimberly, and two children, now 7 and 5 years old.

Since her son’s death, Vaughn and her husband, Billy, have spoken on national and international talk shows and written as contributors for conservative news outlets Breitbart and The Blaze.

Together, they’ve spearheaded efforts to call attention to the conditions under which troops are fighting in Afghanistan. And Vaughn said that will be the focus of her speech Monday night.

With the theme of the night being “Make America Strong Again,” Vaughn said she’ll speak about “defending those who defend us.”

Vaughn also said she wants people to know about the nonprofit she and her husband started in memory of her son, Operation 300, where children whose fathers were killed in action come from across the country to spend a weekend in Martin County.

“They just get to be kids, spending time with father-aged mentors,” she said. The program brings in six groups of 30 children each year, with the next camp coming up at the end of July.

Vaughn said she was asked to speak by the convention several weeks ago. The convention’s organizers were looking for “everyday Americans with stories,” she said, and the RNC press secretary, who worked with Vaughn at an organization where she volunteers, mentioned her name.

“It’s surreal,” she said, “to be able to share our story at such an important moment.”

When to watch: Karen Vaughn will speak at the Republican National Convention at 9:44 p.m. Monday.

Gov. Scott adds Lee and Palm Beach counties to state of emergency over algae

Gov. Rick Scott has expanded a state of emergency already issued for Martin and St. Lucie counties because of an algae bloom to include Lee and Palm Beach counties.

In a news release, Scott said he was extending the state of emergency to two more counties to drive “every available resource to address the needs of these communities following yesterday’s emergency declaration.”

Boats at Central Marine in Stuart sit surrounded by algae Thursday afternoon June 30, 2016. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)
Boats at Central Marine in Stuart sit surrounded by algae Thursday afternoon June 30, 2016. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

A massive blue-green algae bloom in recent weeks has expanded from Lake Okeechobee to the St. Lucie River in Martin County and extended along the county’s oceanfront, leading officials to temporarily close some beaches where the algae was reported. A blog about the size of two fists was found earlier this week on a Jupiter beach, and blue-green algae also has been reported at other locations in Palm Beach County.

Scott also announced that the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is activating a virtual emergency operations center to determine the effect the algae bloom is having on local businesses.

The DEO’s program will survey any businesses that are affected the algae bloom and share the results with local and state agencies to implement any assistance needed. Scott asked that any businesses that have been affected by the algae complete a survey that will be used to determine which support programs might be most helpful. Click here for that survey. Under “Event/Incident,” choose “Lake Okeechobee Discharge – Algal Blooms.”

» Complete coverage of the algae bloom