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First Coast Connect

2/14/2017: Trade And Tariffs; First Coast Connect Book Club; FSCJ TEDx; Live The Life

  Tuesday on “First Coast Connect” we spoke with Vista Energy Group CEO and Flagler College Professor John O’Brien about how President Donald Trump’s trade policies could affect the First Coast. Our First Coast Connect Book Club blogger Stacy Goldring talked about this month’s selection, “What We Became.” We heard from Mary Rose, director of learning services at Florida State College of Jacksonville, and Imani Hope, director of strategic investments at the Jacksonville Public Education Fund, about an upcoming FSCJ TEDx salon focusing on Jacksonville’s women of color in politics. And on Valentine’s Day we heard about a local program designed to save troubled marriages.  


Trade and Tariffs

President Trump has promised big changes to America’s corporate tax structure along with the nation’s trade agreements and tariffs. Restructuring trade and tariff policies could have a big impact right here on the First Coast, particularly at JAXPORT. Professor O’Brien talked about those policies and how automation is expected to continue to lower the number of manufacturing jobs in the U.S.     

First Coast Connect Book Club

In the novel “What We Become,” No. 1 bestselling author and Dagger Award-winner Arturo Pérez-Reverte delivers an epic historical tale following the dangerous and passionate love affair between a beautiful, high-society woman and an elegant thief. Set in Nice, France, in the 1930s and Sorrento during the Cold War, it’s a story of romance, adventure and espionage. The book explores themes including trust, class, politics and love.


On Thursday, a TEDx salon is coming to FSCJ’s downtown campus. It’s called “Lift As We Climb: Women of Color and Political Involvement in Jacksonville.” The city has a rich history and tradition of electing African-American women into political office, including the first women to be elected to the Jacksonville City Council in 1967.

Panelists are former Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, former State Rep. Mia Jones (D-Jacksonville), Sen. Audrey Gibson (D-Jacksonville) and former City Council candidate Ju’Coby Pittman.

Live for Life

The divorce rate in Duval County is on the decline, and the organizers of  Live for Life believe they have played a role in that drop. Live for Life Chairman Dennis Stoica said his goal is to cut the number of divorces in half over the next three-to-five years. The program, funded by a group of private philanthropists,  focuses on communication and getting at-risk couples to remember why they got together in the first place. Local couple Jerry and Susan Pittman joined the show to talk about how Live for Life helped save their marriage of 27 years.    

Producer Kevin Meerschaert can be reached at, 904-358-6334 or on Twitter at @KMeerschaertJax.


Kevin Meerschaert has left WJCT for new pursuits. He was the producer of First Coast Connect until October of 2018.