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Opinion | Democrats in Purple and Red States Can Win by Addressing Infrastructure: ‘Fix the Roads’

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In the realm of American politics, the debate over abortion has long been a polarizing issue that deeply divides lawmakers and constituents. However, as the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, the defense of legal abortion has proven to give Democrats an advantage over Republicans, particularly in red and purple states.

Democratic lawmakers in these states, such as Kansas Governor Laura Kelly, have strategically focused on issues that resonate with a broader base of voters, including economic prosperity and job creation. Governor Kelly’s emphasis on rural development through the creation of an Office of Rural Prosperity demonstrates a pragmatic approach to governance that appeals to both urban and rural residents.

In a recent conversation with Governor Kelly, she explained her deliberate decision to avoid bringing up the divisive issue of abortion in her State of the State remarks. Despite being a pro-choice advocate herself, she recognized that addressing such a polarizing topic would not necessarily lead to common ground with her constituents. Instead, she chose to focus on issues that matter most to Kansans, such as job growth and rural prosperity.

The shift in the abortion debate from abstract ideology to a fundamental freedom for women has provided Democrats with a powerful narrative to attract voters. Ben Wikler, the chairman of the Wisconsin Democratic Party, highlighted how the actual banning of abortions by Republicans has made the issue more salient to voters. Concrete cases, like that of Kate Cox, who had to leave Texas to end her pregnancy due to restrictive laws, have made the impact of abortion restrictions tangible and urgent.

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Austin Davis, Pennsylvania’s Democratic lieutenant governor, emphasized the importance of moving away from flashy politics and engaging with a wider range of voters. By focusing on issues that directly affect people’s lives, Democrats can connect with a broader audience beyond traditional party lines.

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Two individuals sought for causing damage to popular rock formations at Lake Mead

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Las Vegas — Federal authorities are seeking the help of the public in identifying two men responsible for damaging rock formations at a national recreation site in Nevada.Officials at Lake Mead National Recreation Area announced on social media that the incident occurred over a recent weekend near the Redstone Dune Trail on the north side of the lake. The petrified red dunes in this area are a popular hiking destination within the park.A video shared by CBS Las Vegas affiliate KLAS-TV, which has since gone viral, shows two men pushing chunks of sandstone off an outcropping while a girl can be heard screaming. Park officials have condemned this behavior as appalling, emphasizing that the damage caused is irreversible.


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An image from a video recorded on the evening of April 7 shows two men vandalizing popular rock formations.
National Park Service / Facebook

“It’s one of my favorite places in the park, and they’re up there just destroying it. I don’t understand that,” said John Haynes, public information officer at Lake Mead National Recreation Area in an interview with television station KVVU.

Haynes also emphasized that destruction of this nature at federally protected sites can lead to felony charges, resulting in potential fines and jail time. Spanning 2,344 square miles of mountains and desert canyons, the Lake Mead National Recreation Area is a popular destination just outside Las Vegas, attracting around 6 million visitors annually. Due to staffing levels, park officials often rely on the public to help monitor resources within the park boundaries.

Visitors are urged to use their cellphones to capture videos or photos of any suspicious activity, provided it is safe to do so, and to gather any information, such as license plate numbers, that could aid in identifying the offenders. The National Park Service operates a tip line that receives numerous submissions each year. The tip line number is 888-653-0009, and an online reporting option is also available.

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“It’s crucial to inform us of any such incidents,” Haynes added.

Over the past decade, there have been several cases of vandalism on federal land across the Western United States, with visitors defacing petroglyphs, toppling rock formations, and damaging centuries-old rock art.

 

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