ANNAPOLIS – With just weeks until the presidential election, Anne Arundel County voters are talking about the same concerns: taxes, education, health care and employment.
And come Nov. 5, those concerns will prompt different, but firm, choices for the nation’s top elective office. Eighteen voters from a wide range of county communities were interviewed Tuesday in public areas of Deale, Severna Park, Arnold and Annapolis.
“One word – Dole,” said Paul Brown, 64, owner of Severna Park’s Bay TV and Appliance Discount Center. “As soon as I heard Dole was running, he had my vote.”
Brown is a registered Republican, but that wasn’t the sole factor in his decision.
“Dole is experienced,” said Brown, a Bush voter in 1992. “He can also be temperamental at times, but he is a proven and qualified leader. Also, he is about cutting taxes. That’s what I’m about. With Clinton in there, we will continue to pay just as much, maybe even more, than we are now.”
Down the Severn River in Arnold, Vicki Metzger, 41, was also concerned about rising taxes. But Dole is not her solution.
“I’m disappointed in Clinton. However, Dole is no alternative,” said Metzger, assistant manager at Arnold Farms and a resident of Annapolis. “I’ve always been a registered Democrat. I voted for Clinton in 1992, but he has made many mistakes like trying to handle health care and tackling gays in the military his first year in office. But I’m willing to give him another chance.”
Metzger blames corporate America for her economic concerns.
“The corporate attitude is to downsize and think about profits first and people last,” she observed. “There is not much the president or anybody else can do to change that….
“Clinton has the right ideas. Unfortunately, he lacks implementation. Maybe the second time around that will improve,” Metzger said.
Sandy Mansberger, 40, of Brooklyn Park, said Clinton will get her vote, but Ross Perot has her heart.
“Perot is just before his time,” said the administrative assistant at the YWCA in Arnold. “I’m an independent. And I truly believe Perot would be great for this country. People are just not ready for his ideas yet.”
When Perot was shut out of both presidential debates, she decided Clinton was next best.
“I’m against everything Dole stands for,” said Mansberger, a Perot voter in 1992. “He is not for the people. He doesn’t understand minorities. He is from a totally different time. Clinton supported Perot being a part of the debates. Clinton also supports education. So with those two things, he deserves my vote.”
Keith Mattison of Glen Burnie will cast his first vote for president this year. Mattison, 23, said he registered as an independent, but will probably vote Republican.
“I don’t like Clinton’s values,” said the business student at Anne Arundel Community College. “I disagree with his position on letting homosexuals in the military.” He said that reflects Clinton’s “poor value system.”
Pasadena resident Bill Karabinus, 67, will break ranks with his party on election day.
“I’ve been a registered Republican for 30 years, but I will vote for Bill Clinton,” said Karabinus, a retired CPA. “Dole has a problem with his charisma. Clinton has the experience. I don’t feel bad at all about my decision because the two parties are actually not that far about in their ideas. It is just the approach.”
Karabinus said Dole’s character attacks on Clinton are a waste of time.
“None of the stuff they have said about Clinton’s personal life has really been proven,” he said. “The Dole camp should be talking about the issues, like creating more jobs, instead of what Clinton is doing.”
For Vincent Brown, 30, presidential politics are a matter of party loyalty.
“I just don’t like Clinton,” said Brown, owner of the Good Old Days Texaco in Deale. “I don’t believe or agree with Clinton. He hasn’t done anything about the drug problem in this country….
“I’m a Republican and I believe in everything we stand for.”
Deale resident Elaine Knopp, 42, also will vote Republican.
“I don’t like what’s going on in government,” said Knopp, a part-time bartender for the Deale Elks Lodge. “Clinton is spending too much money. I believe Dole will be a great president. I’m not just saying that because I am a Republican, but because I believe he will change things for the better in this country.”
Pete Heyrman, 43, of Annapolis is undecided.
“I do know I will vote on Nov. 5. But for who is still in question,” said Heyrman, manager of the Smoke Shop in downtown Annapolis. “Our biggest problem is honesty in this country. For me, honesty is very important. And I’m not sure if either candidate gets an award for honesty.” Heyrman, an independent, voted in 1992 – not for Clinton or Bush, but for consumer advocate Ralph Nader. -30-