Road to November: Voting With Kids and Families in Mind

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It’s early Monday morning, and a group of three year-old kids are learning how to throw a football in a gym at the YMCA in Sun Prairie.They’re in a newer neighborhood of this largely well-off suburb of Madison.

Kristen Bone of Madison is watching her daughter in pigtails from the bleachers. On her lap is her smiling four month-old daughter. Bone’s husband has been deployed to Afghanistan three times. She says she hopes whoever is president will focus on what’s going on at home, not overseas.

“It’s stressful and puts and impact on the kids and the family,” she says.”I worry anytime there’s any type of crisis, not only are we going to throw a bunch of money into it, but what that means for my family.”

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Although she still doesn’t know if she’ll vote for President Obama or Governor Romney, Bone will be thinking about her daughters when she steps in the voting booth. The economy, the debt, the unemployment rate — she wonders if any of it will improve.

“I’m more worried about them being able to find jobs and them wondering if going to college is worth all the financial responsibility and burden that it puts on you to go to college.”

Jessica Bingham’s son is also in the gym class, but right now, she’s sitting at a tiny kids table, coloring with her other son. The mother of five from nearby Cottage Grove does not want her children to deal with the debt when they grow up. Bingham wants Romney to become the next president, saying he’s the one to get the job done.

“I would like them to lower the debt by maybe cutting some programs that aren’t really necessary and letting the middle class keep their tax breaks they have as far as the child tax credit,” she says.

Candy Wolfmeyer of Sun Prairie echoes Bingham’s fear about the debt piling up under an Obama administration. While she’s mostly concerned about the economy, there’s one deal breaking issue that determines who she votes for in each election.

‘Pro-life is a big issue for me,” she says.”I believe that a candidate must be pro-life in order for me to vote for him.”

Upstairs in the YMCA, Barbara Stricker has just finished working out with her husband in a room full of treadmills and weight machines. The Sun Prairie resident says she is completely against Romney’s stance on women’s health issues.

“Women’s rights are important to me,” she says.”It took a long time to get them. I don’t think we want to give them up. You know, I don’t believe…I don’t want to make somebody else believe what I believe, but I want them to leave mine alone.”

Stricker says with Obama in office, women will be able to make their own health decisions.

Nearby, Mario Drone is cooling down after running on a treadmill and lifting weights on his day off of work.

He’s a full-time father, and full-time sporting goods store employee, and says he’s still learning about the political system. But Drone says he understands the importance of a well-informed vote and how it will affect him and his son, Mario Jr., in the future.

“I definitely do think about him when it comes to these elections,” he says.”I think about myself and what I’m able to do and provide for him as I’m raising him. It’s just really important to me, not that I want anything to be handed out to me or become easy, but something that’s actually going to help me get to that spot where I can make a great path for him.”

Drone says he eventually wants to go back to school. And he’ll be voting for the one candidate he says is looking out for students.

“Obama all day long,” he says.”I mean, I think people just want to get the black guy

out of there, I think that’s kind of sick. But I think he’s a firm believer in the people.”

Drone says he’ll cast a Democratic ballot on November 6th.

All this week, WPR’s Maureen McCollum and Lindsey Moon are traveling the state to see what’s driving people to the polls in a series called “Road to November”. Visit wprnews.org to see photos of their journey and meet the voters they’re talking with along the way.

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