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An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

School lunches allow some food insecure children to eat during the day. However, when school is out for the summer, federal and state-sponsored programs give these children access to meals.
Governer Brian Kemp rejects federal summer food plan
Brennan FrittsMay 24, 2024

Governor Brian Kemp declined Georgia's participation in the federally-sponsored Summer Food Service Program in favor of state-sponsored plans,...

GOP primary candidates take the debate stage, clarify platforms

Associated Press
Republican primary candidates line the stage for the first debate of the 2023 presidential election. From the left, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Vice Pres. Mike Pence, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and North Dakota Gov. Doug Bargum.

Republican candidates Ron DeSantis, Doug Burgum, Chris Christie, Nikki Haley, Asa Hutchinson, Mike Pence, Vivek Ramaswamy and Tim Scott took the stage Wednesday, Aug. 23 for the first presidential debate in Milwaukee, WI. The candidates who did attend, excluding Donald Trump, discussed their positions on abortion, Trump’s legal issues, the war on Ukraine and President Joe Biden’s economic record.


With the overturning of Roe v. Wade in the summer of 2022, abortion rights remain a hot issue among politicians. While many Republicans on the stage claimed that Democrats are promoting “abortion on demand,” the candidates disagreed over whether abortion should be banned federally or on the state level. 

Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, endorsed a 15-week abortion ban in South Carolina and called herself “unapologetically pro-life” regarding her stance on abortion. In her response, Haley said, “Can’t we all agree that we should ban late-term abortions? Can’t we all agree that we should encourage adoptions?”

Similar to Haley, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson backed a 15 to 20-week abortion ban. In 2021, Hutchinson signed an abortion ban that did not include exceptions for rape and incest, with hopes that the Supreme Court would overturn Roe v. Wade. 

One of the most outspoken supporters of pro-life, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he wanted more of a national approach to limiting abortion. DeSantis believes in a “culture of life,” as reflected in a bill signed by him in April 2023 that outlaws abortion after six weeks in Florida. 

Former Vice Pres. Mike Pence disagreed with Haley and said that Haley’s “consensus” approach about abortion is the “opposite of leadership.” Pence emphasized his faith-based approach to the issue like DeSantis and said that abortion should not be determined by states. 

“After I gave my life to Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I opened up the book and I read, ‘Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you,’” Pence said. “And I knew from that moment on the cause of life had to be my cause.”

On the other hand, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum argued that, if president, he would leave the decision up to the states. In finding a middle ground, Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson suggested that both the states and the federal government should work to restrict abortion. 

“It is a most important issue for women, and for the unborn child, and for our country that we get this right,” Hutchinson said. “Let’s talk about it in terms of compassion, in terms of protecting life and also, understanding how we have to enhance adoption services, how we have to enhance maternal care.”

Trump’s Legal Problems 

This year, former Pres. Donald Trump became the first U.S. President in the nation’s history to be indicted and has since broken the record three more times. He has now been charged in four separate criminal cases, two of which are federal and two located in New York and Georgia, related to his business and political activities; to date, he holds 91 total criminal charges

Despite the possibility of former president Donald Trump’s conviction for hoarding classified documents in Mar-a-Lago, all of the candidates except for former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Hutchinson indicated they would support him if he became the Republican nominee. 

Before the debate, Christie criticized Trump by saying, “He’s a coward. There’s no other conclusion to come to that he’s both afraid of me and he’s afraid of defending his record. And if I had his record, I’d be nervous about showing up, too.” In defense of his position at the debate, Christie said, “Someone has got to stop normalizing this conduct.” 

While Ramasway spoke of Trump to be the “best president of the 21st century,” Christie received negative feedback from the audience when he said, “Whether or not you believe that the criminal charges are right or wrong, the conduct is beneath the office of the president of the United States.”


When asked if the candidates would support increased Ukraine funding, only Ramsay and DeSantis showed their opposition when neither raised their hands. Both candidates agreed that more funding should be devoted to the American-Mexican border, rather than to war efforts in Kyiv.

“I will have Europe pull their weight,” DeSantis said. “Our support should be contingent on them doing it.”

Contrarily, Christie, Pence and Haley all voiced their support for Ukraine.

“If we don’t stand up against this type of autocratic killing in the world, we will be next,” Christie said. 


‘Bidenomics’ is a term that the White House describes to be the best way to grow the economy. Three main pillars make up this economic vision: making smart public investments in America, empowering and educating workers to grow the middle class and promoting competition to lower costs and help entrepreneurs and small businesses thrive. 

DeSantis opened the debate floor on this issue by calling for “reverse Bidenomics.” Scott also took a stance against Biden’s economic policies, claiming that they have fueled inflation. 

Haley confronted her own party for spending too much tax money on the Covid-19 stimulus package and blamed Trump for the country’s $8 trillion in debt. DeSantis also said that a “major reason” for inflation and the nation’s immense debt was the Trump Administration’s handling of COVID-19 when many states implemented lockdowns. 

“It was a mistake; it should’ve never happened,” DeSantis said. “In Florida, we led the country out of lockdown. We kept our state free and open.”

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Shea Edwards
Shea Edwards, Editor in Chief
Shea Edwards is a senior and this is her fourth year writing for the Southerner. This year, she is editor in chief for the lifestyle section. Outside of working on the paper, she loves to play lacrosse both in and out of school, participates in several extracurriculars, and enjoys spending time with her family and friends.
Emma Young
Emma Young, Social Media Managing Editor
Emma Young is a senior and this is her third year writing for the Southerner. When she's not writing, she is playing lacrosse or hanging out with friends.

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