Many local residents disappointed by presidential race


For the Recorder

Four days before what could be one of the closest presidential races in recent history comes to an end, many local residents say they are generally disillusioned with the process. While most have made their choice, many people are upset with the campaigns of both candidates.

And like much of the country, local residents appear to be split on who they favor -- President Barack Obama, a Democrat, or former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican.

"It's always the top two people that are getting pushed," said Adam McCoy, 17, a senior at Fonda-Fultonville High School. He is disappointed in the two-party system.

"If a third-party candidate did get elected president, what kind of pull do they have in the Senate," he said. "I think it needs to be balanced out in all elections so that the third party can get into all offices easier."

Laura Burda of Amsterdam echoed many local residents when she said her choice is "the lesser of two evils."

"I think I'm looking at the way that people present themselves now," she said. "And I just think that mudslinging and that kind of thing is so unnecessary. It doesn't help anyone. I don't think (Romney is) answering the questions that he's being asked. I think he skirts the issues. And I think Obama is very upfront and honest. It's a personality thing too ... and I think Romney kind of scares me."

Shirley Jacobs from Glen is shocked by "all that money they spend on their campaigns."

"I tend not to believe politicians," she said. "They can always spin it, and they do. That's my thought."

Mike Mason of Amsterdam echoed Jacobs' mistrust. He is retired and currently working as a school bus driver.

"All politicians are crooks, they all lie, they say what they want you to hear, but they won't do anything," he said. "Nobody wants to do for the better of America. They're all for themselves.

"I'm gonna vote for Obama, because I believe in him," Mason continued. "I don't like Romney. I don't like his attitude."

The economy seems to be at the forefront of most people's minds. To help curb what some call the Great Recession, Obama has made reforms on Wall Street and created a stimulus plan to boost the economy. Opponents say his policies have not worked.

Romney's experience in business is his selling point. He wants to "cut, cap, and balance" the economy to save money but has not given details of his plan.

Karen Mason is going to vote for Obama.

"I believe he's doing the best he can economically," she said. "They're voting against him on everything ... and he's trying. He's brought back a lot of jobs."

"I believe Obama is looking out for the middle class."

But Amsterdam town Supervisor Tom DiMezza, a longtime Democrat who recently announced he was switching to the Republican Party, has a different opinion on what will help the middle class.

"Obama, nice guy, but I don't think he had the experience in order to do what he needed to do in the last four years."

DiMezza said he is going to vote for Romney because he sees the economy affecting people in Amsterdam.

"He's a business person, he understands what the economy needs."

One resident who has been affected by gas prices is Tiffany Mcveigh, a full-time student and mother of three.

"I'm not really a fan of either candidate," said Mcveigh, who isn't sure she is going to vote this year. "Right now I honestly just want gas prices to go down and the economy to change. Just because they say it on the news that there's an improvement doesn't mean that anybody's actually seeing it."

She said that she feels both men are unfamiliar with the plight of the working class, but Romney more than Obama.

Fonda-Fultonville High School senior Sarah Denero, 17, agrees with DiMezza's view on Romney's business experience.

"Right now I think it's just kind of empty promises because both of them are trying to tell the people what they want to hear," said Denero. "I think Romney is definitely better because he's had, like, a better past of budgeting when he was a governor and Obama tries to address all of the issues. He needs to focus on the economic which is the biggest."

The second concern for many local residents is health care. Obama created the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010, to reform health insurance practices. Romney says he will repeal "Obamacare" which he calls a tax after a Supreme Court ruling.

Briana Halvey, 25, of Amsterdam, knows she is going to vote for Obama.

"I recently just got health care from my job, and I didn't have it before," said Halvey, who works at Price Chopper. "So for me to just get that, and have that, is important for me."

Danielle Gordon, 23, of Ballston Spa, is also going to vote for Obama.

"Health care is important because I actually got kicked off my mother's health insurance last year and I ended up being covered under Obama's health care plan so I can go back on next year," she said. "It is really hard for younger people, like my age, like 23, just getting out of college, to establish themselves and to be able to afford healthcare, too."

Government assistance was the biggest issue for Sara James, 17, a senior at Fonda-Fultonville High School.

"I've seen a lot of people take advantage of the system," she said. "It should be there, but for people who actually seriously seriously need it. Like it's their last resort.

"The Obamacare is bullcrap," James added. "Because my parents work hard, they pay for what we get, and people are given what they get."

Some are concerned with the Sept. 11 attack on an American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, where four Americans died, including the U.S. ambassador there. Obama has been criticized for not doing more to prevent the attacks and for withholding information, while Romney has been blamed for politicizing a tragedy.

"I think this latest Libya situation was a disaster," said Pat Baia. "I think there [were] so many things unaccounted for, it just doesn't look like he has a handle on what's going on."

Many others are concerned with abortion. President Obama has voted in favor of pro-choice legislation repeatedly, but has banned the use of federal funds to pay for some abortions. Romney describes himself as pro-life, but prior to 2004 said he was a pro-choice. He says he would overturn Roe vs. Wade as president.

Gary Darkevich of Amsterdam has strong views on abortion, and is therefore going to vote for Romney.

"If the mother's life is in danger, OK, that's a choice she has to make," said Darkevich. "But for the most part, you have people who will adopt ... you have a lot of avenues open to you. Obama, that's my main problem with him."

Ashley Horning, 19, of Mayfield, has the opposite view on abortion. She plans to vote for Obama.

"Women's rights, abortion, and gay rights are the biggest ones for me. I'm really not a fan of the trickle down economics, I don't think that it works, I don't think that's how companies work. So I don't think that by taking less money from rich people it's going to make them make more jobs."

Horning is one of very few who is not disillusioned by the two campaigns. She said she is "excited" to vote in this election.

"I've wanted to vote since I was 11. I love politics."