Kasich in New Hampshire

by Bailey Bouchard

It’s Friday night, and where are the CPLA students? At a John Kasich rally in New Hampshire. Primary weekend had come and twelve of us decided to go up and see what was going on.

Kasich’s one hundredth town hall opened with a speech from former Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel and, though most of us didn’t know who he was, others seemed very excited. Attendees were invigorated and captivated by Kasich’s ideas and plans for the future. The room was packed and people seemed in awe of Kasich as he answered their questions.

The setup was rather awkward. Chairs and cameras surrounded a small platform and Kasich was spinning around in order to make eye contact with everyone. It looked a bit silly, which was not helping Kasich’s image as he talked about throwing snowballs at the press that morning.

The Ohio governor discussed topics including college affordability, drug reform programs, veteran aid, and his desire to connect with voters. Regarding the first, he encouraged high school students to take as courses for college credit available to them and/or to attend community college for a few years. To that end he said students and their families should look past a college’s reputation and standing and focus on what they can afford. He even compared Bernie Sanders’ views on education to ice cream, saying that we may as well make Ben and Jerry’s free.

“I have lots of democratic friends” Kasich said in an obvious effort to stand out as a moderate among the Republican candidates. He could have pushed away the conservative voters he needs to win the republican nomination, but according to results in New Hampshire he did not. Kasich came in second with 15.8 percent of the vote, beating former leaders Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, though still falling behind winner Donald Trump by 19.5 percent. This boost was great publicity for Kasich and hopefully won him some donations, as his funds are limited after devoting so much to New Hampshire.

Iceland Through A Lithuanian’s Eyes

By Demi Vitkute

I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to go to Iceland with CPLA. Iceland is the most fascinating country I’ve ever visited, and from stunning, untouched nature to extremely intelligent and humble people, it surprised me in many ways. I always considered Lithuania small with a population of only three million people, but Iceland’s population is only 320 thousand, and 200 thousand of those people live in and around the capital city of Reykjavik. The country’s size is disproportionally large given its small population. The island is 103,000 square kilometers, or 40,000 square miles. It’s close to a quarter larger than Ireland, about the size of the state of Ohio.

We visited a professor at the University of Iceland, who upon learning that I was Lithuanian asked, “Do you remember that Iceland was the first country to recognize Lithuania’s independence?” Iceland did so on February 11, 1991. He explained that other countries at the time said that no one would remember this event, but Iceland only cared that Lithuania remembered. And we do. “Small countries stand up for each other,” said the professor.

We also had a chance to meet Mr. Hedinn, a policy analyst at the Iceland Prime Minister’s office who previously spent five years working on mental health for the World Health Organization. His book is currently a bestseller in Iceland, and he’s planning on translating and publishing it in many different languages and countries. Rarely do you meet people who can be called role models, and who are so inspiring that you want to be them. Without a doubt, Mr. Hedinn is one of those people. We discussed with him a variety of topics ranging from philosophy to gay rights, and made a note to ourselves to pick up some Marcus Aurelius books, since Hedinn kept on referencing them.

I asked Mr. Hedinn what countries, in his opinion, had the worst conditions regarding mental health institutions. He said Albania and Lithuania. It wasn’t easy hearing this about my native country, but it was eye opening.

Between our meetings and visits, the group was able to explore the country independently. We went on an eight and a half hour excursion to the Golden Circle and saw the geysers, waterfalls, mountains, and glaciers. Every time I look at the photo I took of the Gullfoss Waterfall, it reminds me what it felt like to stand at the edge of the earth.