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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

Topic: Family

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May 24, 2012 at 11:30 AM

An immigrant family’s journey to citizenship and the right to vote

As new American citizens, an Albanian family reflects on the journey that brought them to the United States and the rights they will never take for granted.

Merita and Naim Hyseni were sworn in as United States citizens on October 27, 2011. Pictured with their sons Oltion (left) and Julian (right). (Photo by Lara Underhill/UW Election Eye)

SEATTLE — Naim and Merita Hyseni are from Albania and they will be voting this year for the first time as American citizens.

The Hysenis are also my parents-in-law.

Last week I went to their home to talk to them about how they got to the United States and what it means to them to exercise their right to vote in their new country.

But first…we eat.

I grew up in the Southeast and I thought that was a culture of food. But I learned early in my relationship with my husband Julian that Southern hospitality has nothing on Albanian food traditions. Just when you think you’ve finished the meal, another delicious course comes out of the kitchen.


Comments | More in Culture, Local | Topics: Albania, communism, democracy

April 7, 2012 at 12:39 PM

Rick Santorum to return to campaign trail Tuesday — joined by wife Karen in higher profile role

Rick Santorum appears to have a plan for moving ahead. It involves his wife. To squelch murmurs and questions about whether he might be dropping out of the Republican Party presidential contest, Santorum released information Saturday on some of his campaign events planned for this coming week. He announced he will campaign in Pennsylvania, where he served…


Comments | More in National | Topics: Ann Romney, Family, James Dobson

April 7, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Is Rick Santorum on a recess, a re-assess or just being a dad?

Rick Santorum campaigning in Wisconsin (Photo courtesy of

Rick Santorum campaigning in Wisconsin (Photo courtesy of

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum — longshot version — is in the midst of a break this weekend, stepping off the campaign trail Thursday through Sunday.

Many in the political sphere began debating what this break means for Santorum following three defeats on Tuesday in primaries in Wisconsin, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

On Thursday, Santorum met with a group of conservative leaders who lean religiously evangelical. CNN reports that those in attendance included Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, as well as conservative activists Gary Bauer and Richard Viguerie.

Many took the meeting as a sign that Santorum might drop out of the race. Such news would be well received by some in the GOP. A number of Republican leaders have encouraged Santorum to end his campaign to help unite the party around front-runner Mitt Romney, which would allow supporters and the Romney campaign to focus campaign funds on the general election.

But not so fast with the “Santorum in 2016” T-shirts.


Comments | More in National | Topics: Bella Santorum, Evangelicals, Family

March 3, 2012 at 7:02 PM

Initiative to repeal same-sex marriage gets a jump-start at GOP caucus in Mount Vernon

Sharon Brandt arrives at a caucus location in Skagit County armed with petitions to get an initiative outlawing same-sex marriage on the ballot. (Photo by Alex Stonehill/UW Election Eye

MOUNT VERNON — Sharon Brandt came to her caucus, at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Skagit County, armed and ready to collect signatures for Initiative 1192, one of two efforts to put the fate of same-sex marriage legislation in Washington to a popular vote this autumn.

Brandt said she found out about the effort just last weekend and wanted to get involved, so she attended an organizing meeting in Everett and picked up petition forms.

“What [the legislature] voted for goes against God,” she said, “and we don’t believe you can go against God.”

Signatures stacked up slowly at first, but as caucus-goers here wrapped up their meetings, a crowd formed around the table where Brandt had laid out the petition forms. About 150 people attended the caucus overall, and by the time the last person had filed out the door of the church, Brandt said she had collected close to 100  signatures in support of Initiative 1192.


Comments | Topics: 1192, 74, Family

March 3, 2012 at 11:59 AM

Family values and memories of Reagan strike a chord with voters in Bremerton

BREMERTON — Here is something I didn’t expect to hear at a Republican caucus at the West Sound Technical Skills Center in Bremerton: “It’s a good thing [Barack] Obama was elected.” This unexpected statement was uttered by kindergarten teacher and long-time Bremerton resident, Veronica Moore. Moore quickly added, “Because now people are awake.” Moore, who is…


Comments | Topics: Barack Obama, Caucuses, Family

March 1, 2012 at 12:32 PM

Contraception is 2012 wedge issue for Republicans and Democrats

During the last CNN debate in Arizona, the Republican presidential candidates were able to unanimously agree on one thing: their opposition to Barack Obama’s efforts to make employers cover contraception. The national debate between Republicans and Democrats about contraception has led to what Taegan Goddard of Political Wire has called the “birth of…


Comments | Topics: Barack Obama, conservatives, contraception

February 16, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Rick Santorum hits one million…on Temple Run, or how presidential candidates now embrace video games

Photo by

On almost any smartphone or tablet, amid the e-mail clients and various apps, one is likely to find a mobile game or two. Look on Rick Santorum’s iPad and you will see Temple Run.

I discovered this about the presidential candidate’s gaming habits when I spoke to his eldest daughter and son, Elizabeth and John. They said that as a family they don’t have time to play a console game on Xbox, PlayStation, or Wii, so they gather around the iPad to play games while on the campaign trail.

Santorum is not alone in his fondness of the game. Temple Run was one of the 50 most-downloaded apps in the App Store in December 2011, and has over 1.8 million likes on Facebook. The game runs on Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS, and, according to its creators Imangi Studios, it tests “your reflexes as you race down ancient temple walls and along sheer cliffs.”

Sounds like the perfect game for a presidential candidate.

I talked briefly with Santorum in Denver last week, and recounted my conversation with his children about Temple Run. Almost sheepishly, the presidential candidate replied, “When I go home my kids load all this junk on my iPad…I played it once and here I am….It used to be Angry Birds, now it’s Temple Run.”

His campaign manager later tugged his arm to direct him to the next interview, but Santorum wasn’t quite done yet. He asked, “Did they tell you what my high score was?” I said around one million, and he replied, “Yeah, it’s not very good.”

He’s right. Type in “highest score on Temple Run” on YouTube and one finds hundreds of videos with players getting into the multi-millions. To be fair, though, Santorum does have his hands full right now with things other than perfecting his gaming skills.

But there is a more serious aspect to all of this.


Comments | Topics: Barack Obama, campaign oddities, casual games

February 13, 2012 at 6:30 AM

The culture war and Rick Santorum return to Washington: Susan G. Komen, contraception, Catholics, and same-sex marriage

Rick Santorum at the Cable Center in Denver, Colo., on Feb. 6. The candidate was talking with supporters at his campaign (Photo by Corey Christiansen / UW Election Eye)

The culture war is back.

Actually, it never left. Ideological struggles over reproductive rights, sexuality, gender norms, evolution, and public religious expressions have continued apace, but have taken a backseat to the worst economic crisis the nation has faced since the Great Depression. National unemployment rates crested over 10% in 2009 and now reside at 8.3%, leading some conservatives to call for a “truce” on social issues in this election.

It isn’t back with the same strength as the mid-2000s, when conservative opponents of abortion rights and same-sex marriage were on the winning political side. In 2003, Congress passed legislation banning late-term abortions and the next year 11 states passed ballot initiatives banning same-sex marriage. The conservative energy behind these laws helped George W. Bush secure a second term in the White House. Times have changed: political progressives are now on the offense.

So it isn’t quite a full-on culture war — yet. That could change today, however, when our own Washington state becomes the epicenter of one front of this clash: same-sex marriage.

And one thing to note: Rick Santorum has been waiting for this moment, while Mitt Romney has been dreading it.


Comments | Topics: Barack Obama, Caucuses, Christine Gregoire

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