Local reaction to 2004 election finale is mixed

Sean C. Morgan

Voter reactions to last week’s elections were mixed in Sweet Home, some happy and others disgusted.

“I didn’t vote this year,” Scott Neumann, who lives between Sweet Home and Lebanon, said. “I didn’t have time.”

He has been too busy to keep up with politics enough to vote, and he believes that people who do not vote have no reason to complain.

“I would have probably voted for Bush,” Neumann said. “Kerry didn’t really come across to me as a strong individual.”

Neumann said he served in the Army and found Kerry’s anti-war activities and throwing away his medals to be offensive.

Ryan Ferebee of Sweet Home, for the first time, forgot to vote, she said. “I liked Bush. I was actually glad he got reelected.”

Her reason was the Bush tax cut, she said. “I got more back in taxes.”

“We voted Bush,” Carol Dawson of Sweet Home said. “I didn’t like some of the things that he (Kerry) said.

Michelle Lydon of Bandon wasn’t able to vote. Her ballot was sent to the wrong post office box, and she wasn’t able to get it taken care of in time.

“I would have voted for Bush,” Lydon said.” Because I think that if we put Kerry in office right now, in Iraq, I think we would get our (rear ends) kicked.”

Her feelings about the election remain mixed, she said. “I think that George Bush is kind of creepy and doesn’t need to be there right now” based on other issues.

Her young nephew Timmy Byerly said he wanted Bush to win.

“Bush,” Jon Leonard of Sweet Home said. “I voted for him because he supports our troops. John Kerry says he does, but he doesn’t.”

Leonard said he knows many people in the military, and “I heard nothing good about him” from them.

The marriage issue also weighed into Leonard’s decision, he said. “I believe it’s between a man and a woman,” so he supported passage of Oregon’s Measure 36, a constitutional amendment that defines marriage that way.

Other issues for Leonard included abortion and gun control.

Linda Anderson of Crawfordsville voted for Sen. John Kerry.

“I thought about what Bush has done to our country, the lies he has told,” Anderson said. “I remember when he was a young man, the partying.”

She cites particularly the war, the economy and healthcare as issues for her.

“Now I’ve got to go another four years without any type of healthcare,” Anderson said. “Middle-class Americans can’t afford healthcare.”

Emilio Gallardio of Waterloo didn’t have the time to vote, he said. He moved and never had the time to reregister.

He thought Sen. Kerry would make a great president “because of the fact I think all the plans he has are better than Bush’s.”

He cited the U.S. economy as a reason to support Sen. Kerry. He didn’t like jobs being sent overseas.

He didn’t know why the United States is busy helping other countries while right at home, teachers lose their jobs, schools close and the nation deals with crises like hurricanes. He thinks the money would be better spent at home.

“I voted for the president,” Dr. Dean Kyle of Sweet Home said. “Because I really feel his moral stance is one I can support.”

The election was about preservation of marriage, making Measure 36 a key issue for him, and preservation of life, Dr. Kyle said. “I think he’s been doing a good job.”

“I voted for Kerry because I think our president is an idiot,” Jim Shipp of Sweet Home said. “He’s going to get our country into trouble, and he does nothing for healthcare. I didn’t like Kerry, but he’s better than Bush…. I think our economy’s not going to come back until he’s gone.”

Sweet Home has no jobs, Shipp said, and “in four years, it’s gotten worse….

“He hasn’t done for the timber industry what he’s supposed to do. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t believe in him.”

In the war on terrorism, Osama bin Laden, the man who knocked over the World Trade Center is still loose, and President Bush has been fighting in Iraq, Shipp said.

“I just wish they would have gotten someone in there we could all have gotten behind,” Shipp said. “The truth is this guy scares me. He says one thing, acts like everything is great then does another….

“Kerry would have done things for the elderly. Programs we need Bush cuts off then does then does something stupid (with the money).”

Even more, Americans have their own problems, ranging from roads to the homeless and healthcare; and that’s where the president needs to be looking, Shipp said.