For them, jobs the only election issueSubmitted by DeMolay on Sat, 10/23/2010 - 23:22
There's only one issue in this year's elections: jobs. And no wonder: about one in 10 Ohio and Kentucky residents are unemployed.
People have seen the candidates' ads, read their mailers and heard their rhetoric.
But what do the people who lost their jobs say about how they're voting? Who do they blame? How do they think their vote will help? Here are their stories:
Ray Hartke, 46, Florence
As a building materials inspector in the early 2000s, Hartke feared a real estate market crash would leave him out of a job.
So he dropped his hours to part-time and enrolled at Northern Kentucky University, where he pursued a double major in political science and public relations. Just as Hartke graduated in 2008, he was laid off.
Hartke is still out of work, and that's prompted him to switch political parties.
A longtime Democrat, in 2008 Hartke threw his allegiance to Ron Paul for president.
Because Kentucky has closed primaries, he had to officially switch parties to cast his vote. Paul didn't win, but Hartke didn't switch back.
"I don't agree with the Democratic Party anymore," Hartke said. "The Dems are supposed to be for the working class person, which is what I am. But as time goes on, that doesn't seem to be the case anymore."
He supports Paul's politics: fiscal responsibility, a balanced budget, anti-war and anti-bailout.
This election cycle, Hartke's not only voting for a Paul, he's volunteering: in this case, Ron Paul's son Rand Paul, running for Kentucky's U.S. Senate seat.. He's has put up signs, made calls and put his college degree to work writing press releases for the campaign.
Hartke, who has a 19-year-old son and got married earlier this month, is hoping to find a job in lobbying or advocacy.
In the meantime, volunteering for Paul keeps him motivated.
"If it weren't for this, I don't know where I would be psychologically," Hartke said. "It's getting pretty depressing."