AATL Student Showcase

Student Showcase: Importance of Local Elections

Weekly Current Events: Importance of Local Elections
Instructor: Mrs. Kelly Rodowsky
Class: American Government

Each week American Government students must complete two current events assignments. One assignment must relate to our current US Presidential Election and the other assignment must relate to government or politics anywhere in the world.

Senior JJ Thurber decided to focus his second current event right in our own backyard, choosing to follow the local Congressional race in the 13th District between Republican Incumbent David Jolly and former Florida Governor Democrat Charlie Crist.

Students must summarize each news article citing their sources and also “digest” the information. They are required to write a thorough analysis of the article discussing different perspectives, personal opinions, or noting bias in the media.

Following these political current events has become a central component of the American Government course and plays an important role in students becoming well-informed and engaged citizens.


Current Event: Charlie Crist, David Jolly spar right out of the gate in Congressional District 13 debate

Written by JJ Thurber


This article reports on the recent debate held in St. Petersburg at the Palladium Stadium between ex-governor Charlie Crist and Congressman David Jolly. Both men are running for office in the 13th Congressional District in Florida; Charlie Crist on the Democratic side, and David Jolly on the Republican side.

Topics of debate ranged from abortion to outlooks on the current presidential election; however, the candidates took every opportunity they could to attack their opponent. Notable incidents during the debate include Charlie Crist’s response to his outlook on the current presidential election; he stated that he “admired” Hillary Clinton for her “honesty,” causing the crowd at the debate to erupt into laughter.

Further, David Jolly’s remarks regarding his “potential” support of Donald Trump for president drew some scattered laughter as well as heckling from the crowd. The candidates also debated directly on the issues; one particular exchange of note occurred when David Jolly accused Crist of fueling racial tensions as a result of a prison trip made while he was governor of Florida. Crist, in response, called that a “low blow,” and stated that he was “embarrassed” that Jolly would speak like that of another Floridian.

Overall, the debate was reported as being quite substantive and a satisfactory lead-in to what is anticipated to be one of the most closely watched congressional races in the upcoming election cycle.


Connections and Opinions

In today’s national political landscape, localized elections can prove to be just as important as some national elections.

Congressmen elected from singular districts go on to the House and the Senate to make and approve laws for our nation as a whole; indeed, the men and women elected in these local elections can influence our policy making at a national level. In American Government, we have learned that Congressmen are an integral part of our legal system.

Paying attention to such things as the recent Congressional debate between Charlie Crist and David Jolly can serve to make us all a bit more informed as voters; it grants insight that will be valuable down the line should we wish to have an understanding of politics in our country.

The Tampa Bay Times article that reports on this event seems to present the information as it relates to the debate in an objective fashion; the happenings of the event are stated plainly, and no side is seemingly given prevalence over the other by the author.

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