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First Coast Connect

1/29/2018: The Centrist Project; Mother's Cry Puerto Rico Fundraiser; Cole Pepper

Monday on First Coast Connect we spoke with The Centrist Project Jacksonville chapter leader Perry Waag (01:16).

Doctors Uma Eyyunni and Ravi Kancha told us about local nonprofit Mother’s Cry fundraiser for victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico (35:33).

Cole Pepper gave us a Super Bowl preview and a wrap-up of Sunday’s Pro Bowl and what to expect in the Jaguars off-season (46:00)   

The Centrist Project

It’s a growing movement that seeks to move our politics away from the gridlocked two-party system.

Following last week’s government shutdown and the divisive 2016 election there's new energy in the movement to reclaim the political center.  

Most polls show that the majority of Americans are moderate, also known as centrist, in their political views. But due to a combination of factors that include everything from gerrymandering to cable news, to big money influencing politics, the center these days doesn’t have much as big a voice.

The Centrist Project is a group that seeks to get more independent candidates elected to office. They are looking to back politicians who can break through political gridlock, not as leaders of a traditional third party, but as what they’re calling America’s first Uniparty.

Mother’s Cry Puerto Rico Fundraiser

About half of the people in Puerto Rico still have no electricity four months after Hurricane Maria.

That’s nearly 450,000 U.S. citizens who have been living without power. Blackouts regularly occur for hours at a time, even in the capital of San Juan.

Thousands still don’t have access to fresh water. Food and jobs are scarce, and houses are uninhabitable. Kids can’t go to school since the buildings are in the dark. Thousands of police officers are not showing up to work, and violent crime is rampant.

Mother’s Cry is holding a fundraiser Feb 3 at the Robinson Theater on the campus of the University of North Florida.  

Cole Pepper

It’s Super Bowl week with New England and Philadelphia meeting in Minneapolis. Several Jaguars players performed well in the Pro Bowl in Orlando on Sunday. The Jaguars have several free agents and need to decide the fate of quarterback Blake Bortles.

Roger Federer won the Australian Open on Sunday. It was his 20th Grand Slam win.   

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.