Pasco and Hillsborough voters express their views

Voters in Pasco and Hillsborough counties headed to the polls on Aug. 28 to cast their votes in Florida’s midterm primary.

Some shared their thoughts with The Laker/Lutz News at polls in Land O’ Lakes, Wesley Chapel, Zephyrhills and Lutz.

Here’s a brief synopsis of what some of them had to say:

Rick Carfi (Brian Fernandes)

Rick Carfi, a customer service representative at Publix, who lives in Land O’ Lakes, put it like this: “You don’t vote, you don’t have a say. I’ve been voting forever.”

Hoyt Davis, a consultant, from Land O’ Lakes, said voting “is one of our rights as American citizens.”

Tami Perdue, a paint contractor from Land O’ Lakes, put it like this: “If you want your voice to be heard, you need to vote for the people you want in office.

“Our veterans fought for us. We should use our rights that we have because of what they’ve done for us,” she added.

Franz Warner, a firefighter from Land O’ Lakes, said “It’s everybody’s fundamental right and obligation to vote.

Franz Warner (Brian Fernandes)

“It’s somewhat sad that people don’t exercise that right. I think with the state of the country and the things going on right now, that everybody needs to exercise that right.”

Robin Ankrom, a stay-at-home mom from Land O’ Lakes, said “I’m really passionate about my voting rights.

“I believe voting for judges and for school board are just as important as other offices,” she said, noting judges are the ones who interpret the law.

Selecting school board members is important, too, because she wants to have a say regarding “who’s making the decision for my child’s education.”

Rick Stevens, 63, of Zephyrhills, said, “I’m not really thrilled about what’s currently going on in Washington. It’s not always in with the new and out with the old. Sometimes we ask for change and we get it, and we don’t realize what we’ve done, in this particular case.

“It’s just the primaries, so we’ll see what happens.

“Hopefully some changes are made and messages sent, maybe.”

Henry Keithley, 44, of Zephyrhills, said, “I’m tired of the Trump rhetoric. I think DeSantis, that commercial he ran was just like completely riding (Trump’s) coattails — I just feel like that stuff has gone far enough. It’s not helpful. It’s certainly not uniting. Putnam’s done a great job as commissioner of agriculture, I thought, so I just think he’s more of a reasonable, level-headed person that can do the job, whereas, I don’t know how I would feel about DeSantis.”

Bruce Hinkle, 72, of Zephyrhills, a Navy veteran and staunch Democrat, expressed the need to find solutions for affordable health care and education for future generations.

“When I got out of the service you could be on minimum wage — working as a mechanic or maybe cleaning cars in a car dealership— and have enough money for college. Not today. I mean, kids are graduating with so much debt. There’s something wrong with that. You look at that and the scenario with our health care, what’s wrong with this country?

“As all these kids in debt get older and they get wiser, they’re going to look back on this and say, ‘There was something wrong there. I had to spend 15 years of my life paying for the rest of my college loan. Well, that’s going to be huge, and they’re going to remember the people that were for them, trying to do something with their costs.”

Adam Racker, 33, Zephyrhills, put it like this: “The real shame of it is that a lot of independents are not voting in this because they think this is just a primary for governor, surprisingly. Independents have no idea that they can even vote in the school board (election). They think, ‘Oh, it’s an Adam Putnam or Rick DeSantis, or a Gwen Graham vs. Andrew Gillum’ and then they’re not heard.”

Tisha Wright, 48, of Zephyrhills, said “education is big to me. I don’t know why more people don’t follow school board elections and what’s going on with schools.”

Eunique Bolton (B.C. Manion)

She also came out to support Joy Gibson for Florida State Senate District 20.

“I think the biggest thing that she says is family over politics. She’s concerned about families. I know she has a good heart and cares for families. That’s what her campaign is all about — family values.”

Irineo Cabreros (B.C. Manion)

Eunique Bolton, of Wesley Chapel, cast her ballot at a precinct at Bridgeway Church on Wells Road. She was particularly interested in the school board races and primary for governor. She said she always votes. “This is my first time here, because I just moved here from Hillsborough County.” And, she brought her 2-week-old, Nicco, along with her to the polling place.

Peggy Jensen, of Wesley Chapel, said “We always vote. It’s important to us that the right person gets in office.” To her, voting “is an obligation, really.”

Irineo Cabreros, of Lutz, said he votes whenever he can. “It’s a right I don’t want to pass up or take for granted.

“It’s my only input I have access to.

Peggy Jensen (B.C. Manion)

“I always will be here. If I have a chance, I’ll vote someone who might shift the scale in terms of better representation. The two-party system is a little bit flawed right now. It’s missing a lot of people that don’t subscribe to either.”

Marguerite LaPunzina, of Lutz, put it like this: “The status quo in the state is unacceptable, and this is the first step in changing the order.”

“I think it’s a shame that people don’t exercise their right as an American to vote. I’m well into my 40s, and I remember the first time I was able to vote when I turned 18. I think it was a school board election, and I went out and voted.”

“It’s the only way you’re going to get your voice heard.”

Marguerite LaPunzina (B.C. Manion)

Wilma Moore, of Lutz, who drove a school bus for 30 years, said she never misses an election. She said she was interested in every race on the ballot. “They’re all really important,” she said.

Craig Cooler, of Lutz, said: “I just think it’s an important civic duty to come out and vote and express your concerns.”

He thinks it’s important to vote in primary elections.

“I don’t like it when they get to the time when it’s the main voting. ‘Basically, they’re like, we’re voting for the lesser of two evils.’ They didn’t voice their opinion at the beginning,” Cooler said.

— Compiled by B.C. Manion, Brian Fernandes and Kevin Weiss

Published September 5, 2018

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