(Host) After months of discussion and debate, Vermonters have been going to the polls throughout the day to decide a host of statewide races and one federal contest.
As VPR’s Steve Zind reports, voters weighed economic and other concerns as they made their choices.
(Woman) "It should get warmer, ‘cause I see blue sky…"
(Zind) Voters in the Connecticut River town of Bradford braved a gauntlet of political signs and a chilly wind on their way to cast their ballots.
For Susan Claflan voting also meant resolving tug of war between her affinity for one party and her feeling that there are other candidates on the ballot who might do a good job, too.
(Claflan) So you’re torn between either voting along party lines or actually entertaining the possibility that people from opposite parties might actually be good in office. I actually think the economy is my big issue, and education. My concerns are about cutting funding to education."
(Zind) Those issues: The economy and education, surfaced a lot as we spoke with voters around the state. Claflan says she doesn’t want cuts in education. Those sentiments where echoed by Brookfield voter Patrick O’Donnell.
(O’Donnell) "I’m a secondary ed major at UVM and I’m just a little worried about potential education cuts and tax cuts for the wealthy to maybe jeopardize education funding."
(Zind) But standing outside Holley Hall in Bristol, where he voted, Timothy Bovier said he thinks some education cost cutting is in order to restore a little balance.
(Bouvier) I’d love to see them a bit lower, but I know it’s a balance between the two."
(Zind) Barker Willard in Wilmington went a little further when it comes to cutting both spending and the role of government.
(Willard) I certainly don’t like all the spending. I’m not happy about all the things being pushed on us – either — the health care system – I do believe a health care overhaul is needed. Certainly tired of taxes.
(Zind) Those concerns are also what motivated Belinda Fortman to go to the polls in Barre on election day.
(Fortman) "Just the national debt, really, is what brought me out. I feel that we need to control our spending and we’re heading in the wrong direction."
(Zind) Not everyone listed education and the economy as their top priorities. In New Haven, the gubernatorial candidates positions on the state’s nuclear plant tipped the scales for Sue Perna.
(Perna) "I would say probably Vermont Yankee was the biggest difference for me between the two candidates and I’m not a Vermont Yankee fan, so I guess you can guess how I voted :47
(Zind) On the other hand, Larry Simpson didn’t hear the issues important to him addressed in the campaign. He joined other voters in Burke today as they filed into the Town Clerk’s office to cast ballots.
(Simpson) "I was hoping they was going to do a lot more with health care for senior citizens and people on disability and Medicare, but they never touched on them. Fro the last month and a half all I’ve been hearing is this one is doing this, this one is doing that, all they’ve been doing is slamming each other back and forth."
(Zind) Many of the voters we spoke with expressed dismay at the tone of the campaigns – especially the race for Governor. Jeremy Orr of Barre says he found it distasteful, but also says there might be a silver lining.
(Orr) "I guess the only good out of it is that people are hyped up and I think that’s a good thing."
(Zind) In the end, Maudie Ansaldi of Chelsea probably speaks for many voters who felt both relief and apprehension as they cast their ballots today.
(Ansaldi) "I just hope I voted for the right person, that’s all. I think its terrible how they knock one another down. But I hope I did the right thing."
(Zind) For VPR news, I’m Steve Zind.