Women’s March momentum continues with first ‘Power to the Polls’ rally in Las Vegas

What happens in Las Vegas on Sunday won’t stay in Las Vegas.

Or at least that’s what organizers of the Women’s March are hoping after their first ever “#PowertothePolls” activation in Nevada, which was designed to both celebrate and build on the momentum of last year’s Inaugural Women’s March.

Crowds of people flocked to Sam Boyd Stadium as early as 5:30 a.m. in crisp desert temperatures for the event, which officially began at 10 a.m. PT.

“We marched with all sisters in DC last year, we had to come here,” said Paula Beaty, 53, of Durham, North Carolina, who came dressed in matching suffragette outfits with her older sister Elizabeth Beaty, 59.

“We want to remind people of those women who came before us who went to jail, were force-fed, tortured basically so we could have these every day rights,” Elizabeth added. “we cannot let this stand, we have got to fight back and we have to vote.”

This year, the main Women’s March organizers — who spent much of 2017 uniting as many people as they could for 2018 — have a goal of turning the movement’s momentum into political action. They hope to register 1 million voters in 2018.

The rally comes a day after hundreds of thousands of marchers filled streets in Washington and several other major cites Saturday on the anniversary of President Donald Trump’s Inauguration. It also comes two days after the government shutdown as congressional leaders from both parties try to reach a deal to fund the government and find a fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which granted legal status to undocumented immigrants who came to the US with their parents.

Nevada has a large immigrant population. Several thousand Nevada residents from El Salvador will likely become deportable in September 2019, the Las Vegas Sun reported earlier this month, following the Trump administration’s decision to end temporary protected status for citizens of El Salvador.

The state was among the few swing states to go Hillary Clinton’s direction in 2016. Now, it’s poised to play an important role as a battleground state in 2018, as Republican Sen. Dean Heller fights to keep his seat and Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval, who is term-limited, prepares to exit.

Last year, Las Vegas was also the site of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, an event that reignited a simmering debate over gun control last year.

All these factors — coupled with the large Women’s March network in Nevada — helped influence the decision, Linda Sarsour, a Women’s March co-organizer, told CNN last week.

“Nevada is a big melting pot,” Sheila Sowltow, a 49-year-old Las Vegas resident, said. “One thing that makes us so important is our diversity. And we are a swing state, we can have an impact.”

Sowltow, who is a self-proclaimed “voting nerd,” said voting is something “we all take for granted, and we shouldn’t.”

“I think the change we saw in Virginia, New Jersey and Alabama has really motivated people,” she said. “And showed there is change to be had and we are making it happen. We [women] are over half the population, people should know we are here.”

Some came from other battleground states to Nevada to show their support and get energized for 2018.

Bordy Brilling, 66, came from Scottsdale, Arizona, to attend the rally with a high school friend, who lives in Nevada.

“My New Year’s resolution was to get more involved,” she said. “I know this event will get me more excited, but I hope it also gives me more purpose when I go back to Arizona.”

She said it’s especially important to her as a resident of a red state, where Sen. Jeff Flake’s seat is up for grabs.

Ahead of the start of the event, organizations — including national organizations like Planned Parenthood and OFA, as well as local groups like Our Revolution — set up and walked around passing out free swag, encouraging people to vote and sign up for their mailing lists. Meanwhile, volunteers readied the stage for the line up of speakers, which includes Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, Democratic Rep. John Lewis of Georgia and musician Cher.

Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who was announced as an honorary co-chair of the Women’s March with Lewis, will not be in attendance. However, she will be featured in a video message that will be played during the event. There will also be live performances by Faith Evans and Ledisi.

Early attendees nabbed spots in the bleachers as close to the stage as possible, and mingled with one another as they waited for the event start.

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NY Gov. Cuomo to keep Statue of Liberty open during shutdown

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced he will use state funds to keep the Statue of Liberty open to visitors during the federal government shutdown during a press conference on Sunday.

Cuomo, a Democrat, said the landmark in New York Harbor will be “back to work tomorrow.”

“When the Statue of Liberty closes, it disrupts many tourists’ plans,” Cuomo said. “We’ve contacted the federal Department of the Interior and we worked out an arrangement where New York State will fund the federal employees who operate the Statue of Liberty so it will reopen tomorrow at state expense.”

The Statue of Liberty is located on Liberty Island within the state of New York, but it is operated by the federal National Park Service. When the Senate failed to approve legislation to keep the government from shutting down before midnight Saturday, the National Park Service announced that the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island would close immediately until further notice.

“From our point of view, it’s a good investment because the revenue we gain from the tourists is multiples of what it will cost to actually pay to open the Statue of Liberty,” Cuomo said. “Again, we want to keep tourism flowing, we want people coming and we don’t want any disruption. So our arrangement with the federal Department of Interior will last for the period of shutdown.”

After the government shut down at midnight on Saturday, visitors found boat trips to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island were canceled and signs were posted at the departure area explaining that the shutdown forced the closure.

Cuomo said keeping the Statue of Liberty open is important because it’s symbolic of the debate about immigration currently halting work in Congress right now.

“The issue is about immigration and the sense that some people have that this country should close the doors and stop immigration,” Cuomo said. “The concept of closing the doors to immigrants is repugnant to the concept of America.”

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Multiple cars involved in crash on Interstate 95 in Miami Gardens

Several cars were involved in a crash Sunday afternoon on Interstate 95 in Miami Gardens, officials said.Lt. Felipe Lay, a spokesman for Miami Fire Rescue, said the crash happened around 2:30 p.m. along I-95 near the Miami Gardens Drive exit. The two r…

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Amazon to (finally) open checkout-free store in Seattle

Attention Seattle shoppers: Amazon is about to open its long-promised convenience store with zero checkout lines.

Customers must scan the Amazon Go app upon entering the store. Sensors will then track their movements and charge shoppers’ Amazon accounts for the items they grab. Customers just walk out of the store. No cashiers needed.

Amazon Go’s offerings include groceries, ready-to-eat meals, cold drinks and meal prep kits.

The tech giant first introduced the Amazon Go store concept in 2016, and it was set to open to the public in early 2017.

But it turned out the tech that powers the shop was a bit more difficult to develop than initially thought, The Wall Street Journal reported last March.

Amazon employees have been allowed to shop at the store during its testing phase.

Monday will mark the first time the general public will be able to test it out.

The first store is located in Seattle, where Amazon is headquartered. It’s not clear if the company has plans to open more.

Amazon Go marks the latest addition to Amazon’s brick-and-mortar ventures.

The company now operates 13 bookstores across the U.S., and three more locations are on the way, according to Amazon’s website. The company also purchased the Whole Foods grocery chain in June for $13.7 billion.

Amazon’s foray into operating physical shops is laced with irony, considering Amazon is widely blamed for driving some traditional retailers out of business with its quick-shipping e-commerce site.

But the company has made it clear it’s not building your grandparents’ shopping destinations.

Just like Amazon Go, Amazon bookstores are geared for the digitally savvy.

Inside those shops, digital displays under each book show the number of stars it’s received on Amazon.com. At checkout, there’s no cash. Customers must pay with a card or through the Amazon app on their phones.

–CNN Tech’s Seth Fiegerman contributed to this report.

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Rand Paul: Dems spiked his immigration compromise to end shutdown

Sen. Rand Paul says he proposed a compromise to Democrats to re-open the federal government, but was rejected.

The Kentucky Republican said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday that he pitched re-opening the government in exchange for allowing Democrats a week of debate on immigration policy.

“It’s gamesmanship and partisanship,” Paul said. “I gave them the answer. Here’s the answer how you solve this today: Promise, guarantee in writing to the Democrats that there will be one week’s debate on immigration and a vote on an immigration bill sometime in the next month in the House and the Senate.”

Paul said the idea was spiked.

“Now when I presented this to those in the Senate, and Senator (Dick) Durbin (D-Illinois), they were like, ‘Oh, no we want guaranteed passage on a must-pass bill.’ And it’s like, well, nobody gets a guaranteed passage,” he said.

The largest point of contention between political parties that led to the government shutdown on Friday night was immigration policy — including the funding for a proposed border wall and the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which has protected undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children from deportation.

In 2017, President Donald Trump rescinded an executive order that extended DACA. If Congress does not pass a legislative fix for DACA, it will expire later this year.

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