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Friday, July 01, 2022

Gainesville residents offer Obama advice

Whether discussing the environment or economics, Gainesville residents have no shortage of advice for incoming President Barack Obama.

UF English and education senior Danni Bay said she thinks Obama should work to balance finances among public schools.

"In the course of my studies I have visited many schools," Bay said. "The lower socio-economic status schools have some of the worst resources, books and teachers."

People fault the children when their FCAT scores are poor, but the reason for the low scores is probably lack of funding for good teachers, she said.

"I think Obama is the right person to make the initial decisions for bettering education," she said as she looked at her laptop with an Obama campaign sticker on the front. "But we have to step up our expectations of those who can make the difference like teachers, PTA and students."

Bryan Griffin said he thinks Obama should abide by the West African proverb famously quoted by Theodore Roosevelt and "speak softly and carry a big stick" when dealing with American foreign policy.

Griffin, the chairman of UF's College Republicans, said he thinks there have been no major terrorist attacks since Sept. 11 because President Bush kept to his foreign policy commitment.

Luz Martin del Campo, a doctoral student at UF, said she is worried about the lack of women's jobs in areas the government is trying to grow.

"They're all male-dominated sectors of the economy," she said. "In construction, women only make up 8 percent of the industry, and in engineering, women only make up 13 percent."

Her 9-year-old daughter Zoë, who attends J.J. Finley Elementary School in Gainesville, thinks Obama should raise money to plant trees.

"In the rain forest, more animals die every day because trees are getting cut down," she said.

Zoë, who wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up, said she understands that people need to cut down trees to make paper, but while trees are being cut down, animals die.

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She said she thinks Obama should not only plant trees in the rain forest but also in U.S. neighborhoods.

"In my old neighborhood in Brooklyn, there was only one tree. One big tree and a few little weak ones," she said, her blue eyes widening.

Jennifer Kacerosky, co-president of UF's chapter of Pro-Life Alliance, said if she could give Obama advice it would be about abortion.

"I would ask him to begin recognizing pre-born American children as whole human persons," she said. "African-Americans were once not recognized as whole human persons, and look where that brought us. Imagine if that is how it was still seen."

UF graduate student Matthew Wardell said his advice to the president would be to keep up the good work.

"I'd ask the president to continue doing the thing he's been so good at: making American citizens feel like contributors. Not just observers of their government," Wardell said.

"That, and I'd ask for a little help with my student loans," he added with a smile.

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