What question would you ask tonight?

Published 4:42 am Wednesday, October 13, 2004

By By SPIROS GALLOS / Niles Daily Star
NILES - With the final presidential debate being held in Tempe, Ariz. at 9 p.m. tonight, Niles residents were asked Tuesday, "If you could ask George W. Bush or Senator John Kerry a question during the debate, what would it be?"
The questions ranged from topics such as the war in Iraq and income taxes, to whether the candidates' faith has an influence on their decisions.
Like much of the nation, Niles is split in half over which candidate to elect in November.
Of the dozen people who were asked, five said they would vote for President Bush, four would vote for Kerry, one was undecided, and two did not say who they would vote for.
A majority of those asked, cited the candidates' faith as the reason they supported or opposed each candidate.
Michelle Lewis, 19, the office manager at IHS Technologies, 111 E. Main St., plans to vote for Bush in her first presidential election, because of his Christian morals.
If Lewis could ask both candidates a question, she would ask, "Why go through the risk on your life, of political scandal, and the pressure to serve your country?"
Jeff Whittaker, pastor at the Michiana Christian Embassy, 1922 E. Main St, would ask the candidates, "Is your quest for what is true and right more important than your quest for office?"
Whittaker would not reveal who he plans to vote for but did say plans to vote Nov. 2. Whittaker thinks the most important issue of the election is finding a balance between national security and domestic issues.
Robin Bays, 38, Niles City Utilities Cashier, would like to ask President Bush, "How can you justify the actions you've taken as president, such as allowing Osama Bin Laden's family to leave the country and the war in Iraq, when you're still involved with the oil companies?"
Bays plans to vote for Kerry based on his position on insurance and his belief that the government should not be involved in some moral decisions that are between God and an individual, she said.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the wall from Bays in the Niles Utilities Building, Kally Hoelcher, 40, Deputy Treasurer for the City of Niles, said she would vote for Bush, the candidate she perceives having the most faith.
Rhonda Barnett, 36, of Marcellus, who was visiting Niles Tuesday, cited Bush's moral values as the reason she plans to vote for him in November. Barnett said she would ask both candidates, "How would your moral values influence your executive decisions?"
Economics and the war in Iraq also weigh on the minds of some Niles voters.
Ken Daniel Jr., 34, a realtor in Niles, said he would ask the president, "Are gas prices going to go down?" Daniel said he would as Kerry, "Are you going to fix the problem in Iraq soon?"
Daniel said he plans to vote for Kerry because he feels the Massachusetts senator is less "wishy-washy" than Bush.
Eric Williams, 30, owner of In the Cut, a barber shop at 207 N. 3rd St., wanted to ask President Bush why he went to war in Iraq.
Williams admitted he has never really followed politics but said he feels that the economy is better and there seems to be more jobs when a democrat is president. Williams said he will most likely vote for Kerry in the election because he'd rather see Bush out of office.
Matt Evans, 24, of Elkhart, Ind. and Steve Compoe, 21, of Niles would both like to see the candidates act more civil when campaigning.
Evans, who works at the Family Dollar, would ask both candidates, "What's with the slam campaigns?"
Evans plans to vote for Bush, but said he doesn't fully agree with the President's platform.
Compoe, a clerk at the Niles District Library, would like to ask the candidates to refrain from attacking each other when answering his question.
Compoe said he would vote for Bush, because Bush seems to be able to relate to the common voter.
He described Bush's as having a Mr. Roger's attitude.
The focus on both candidates military service is a concern of Shelley Domond, 50, assistant manager at Majerek's Hallmark Readers World.
She would ask President Bush, "Why do you want us to focus on John Kerry's military record, when you have not been upfront and candid about your own?"
Domond said she would ask Kerry about his plans for the economy.
Domond plans to vote for Kerry in the Nov. 2 election because she doesn't think Bush has done a good job as president.
Niles City Clerk Ruth Harte, 56, has already cast her vote via absentee ballot. Harte said she won't have time to vote in person on election day with all the responsibilities she'll have.
Harte said the economy is the biggest issue this election year and would ask both candidates, "If you had the chance to correct a mistake, what would you change?"
Kent Malmstrom, 47, a maintenance worker from Niles, said he would ask both candidates, "Why do we have to pay income taxes?"
Malmstrom said he hasn't watched the past debates because "they're just long commercials is all."
Malmstrom said he isn't really in favor of either candidate and doesn't know who he'll vote for in November.