- Faith & Family
First lady Michelle Obama made a brief but memorable campaign stop in South Florida on Tuesday, July 10, speaking before an estimated 3,000 cheering students at Barbara Goleman High School, located in Miami Lakes. She was here to help garner support for the President as he seeks to be reelected for his second term in office. President Barack Obama is narrowly leading his opponent, Republican Mitt Romney, in almost every national poll. But Florida is important for both candidates because of the state’s 29 electoral college votes.
The school’s gymnasium was packed with students patiently waiting several hours before the first lady spoke. During her speech, Mrs. Obama highlighted the achievements of her husband’s first four years in office, focusing on his signature health care law, the creation of more jobs and improvements in social programs. She asked everyone present to make sure they were registered to vote and to make sure their friends and neighbors registered as well.
“With your help, four more years,” she said. “We’re doing this for the vision for this country we all share. Between now and November, we are going to need all of you to get out there and tell everybody you know that Barack is on our side, fighting for the values we believe in [good schools for all, security for senior citizens and a safety net for the middle class].”
GOP board members cause a stink
It may have been Michelle Obama’s first trip to the Miami Lakes high school but several Miami-Dade County Public School board members were not in favor of the choice of venue. Renier Diaz de la Portilla said the first lady should not have been allowed to appear at the high school since the district has a policy banning political activity in tax-funded County public schools. His board member colleague, Carlos Curbelo, sought legal advice from the board’s attorney.
In the end, the challenges from the two Republicans were reviewed and ruled invalid. School officials said that the Obama campaign had rented the gym, paid the District $2,300 and that the arrangements were legal in accordance to District policy. Diaz de la Portilla had even asked Superintendent Alberto Carvalho to cancel the event. He is now urging new policies that would ban any political activities from being held in public schools.
But board member Wilbert Holloway, a Democrat, said he welcomed the first lady’s visit.
“I could not be more proud that First lady Michelle Obama has chosen to speak at Barbara Goleman Senior High School and believe that our schools should encourage students to debate ideas and become engaged in our democratic process,” he said.
By D. Kevin McNeir