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PIN sources react to election and look toward the future

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 16, 2012 - Voters nationwide made their voices heard Nov. 6, re-electing President Barack Obama to lead the country for another four years. We asked sources in the Public Insight Network for whom they voted, what the results mean to them and what they plan to do now that the election is over. 

Sources expressed mixed reactions to election results, regardless of which presidential candidate they supported. Some sources were more hopeful, others surprised and some weren't quite sure how they felt yet. Regardless of their reactions, none of our sources showed signs of slowing down after the election. Each provided insight into what they would do in the future to help make the country better. 

Here is what they told us:

Mary Clemons, Kirkwood

Profession: Retired church administrator

Presidential choice: Barack Obama

Are you feeling more or less hopeful?  "I spent much of [election] day wondering why I didn’t seem to feel as hopeful as my friends and colleagues … Though I could be glad that Missourians had shown willingness to move to the center and elect a moderate Claire McCaskill to the U.S. Senate, and the Affordable Care Act would not be jeopardized, I focused on the problems I saw at the state level.  The rejection of Proposition B, which would have brought needed revenue to the state and saved lives, put a pall over my mood.  I began looking ahead to the work that would need to be done to influence our state legislators to find new revenue streams, to stop cutting needed programs and to expand our Medicaid program."

What are you going to do now?  "I am the president of Women's Voices Raised for Social Justice, a group of women primarily in the St. Louis area.  We advocated for the passage and then for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  We worked for the passage of Proposition B, the tobacco tax increase.  We worked for capping interest on payday loans.  I see my work, and the work of our members, over the next year and years to continue to speak out and advocate for these issues.  In particular, I anticipate a busy year ahead partnering with other organizations to see that Missouri expands the Medicaid program to provide health insurance for the working poor who are currently uninsured."

Wayne Johnson, St. Louis

Age: 44

Profession: Firefighter and soldier 

Presidential choice: Barack Obama

Are you feeling more or less hopeful?  "I'm feeling far more hopeful about the future with this election outcome.  I know a lot of money was spent on negative ads, but at the end of the day, I believe it was a good ground game and vision for the country that beat the power of raising money, a la the Citizens United decision."

What are you going to do now?  "I plan to help those who currently do not actively take part in the political process [to] see how important it is to do so for their own interests.  When the American people are tuned in and vote, it is more likely that whichever party wins will have policies that support the people rather than just large donors or PACs."

Rick Lachner, Bunker Hill, Ill.

Age: 51

Profession: Technical specialist

Presidential choice: Mitt Romney

Are you feeling more or less hopeful?  "Extremely less hopeful about our country. I expected Romney to fare better.  I think people said one thing, then voted differently."

What are you going to do now?  "Mainly pray for guidance for leadership."

Susan Williams, Florissant

Age: 69

Profession: Retired teacher

Presidential choice: Barack Obama

Are you feeling more or less hopeful?  "I feel pretty hopeful. I think our country and our economy is recovering slowly from the recession, which was already upon us when President Obama was elected.  I only hope that the lawmakers at the state and national level can put aside their partisanship and cooperate to solve the big problems of budget and deficit, end the war in Afghanistan and improve education."

What are you going to do now?  "I am a member of the League of Women Voters and intend to increase my effort to become better informed and promote informed decision-making by voters and office holders."

Jim Stroup, Sappington

Age: 65

Profession: Retired machinist

Presidential choice: Barack Obama

Are you feeling more or less hopeful?  "I am more hopeful. After listening to unending negative ads sponsored by special interest groups and PACs and [listening to] annoying phone calls, I was in doubt that anyone out there thought like me.  I am surprised that so many people-oriented candidates won!  No, I am amazed!"

What are you going to do now?  "Since President Obama was first elected, I have installed geothermal HVAC and photo-voltaic solar panels on my home.  I believe that it is my personal duty to utilize our planet in a responsible way.  I can’t wait until 'it is cheap' or until 'everyone else is doing it.' My plan is to continue doing what I can to preserve our planet."

Phillip Wells, Dellwood, Mo.

Age: 80

Profession: Retired HR executive

Presidential choice: Mitt Romney

Are you feeling more or less hopeful?  "My first and only thought on Wednesday morning is to get ready for a recession that will make the one in 2009-2010 look mild."

What are you going to do now?  "I have already begun to cut back on spending and saving wherever I can. I look for businesses to also cut back on spending with a reduction in workforce, which will create more unemployment.  Inflation will increase at once."

Outreach specialist Linda Lockhart has been telling stories for most of her life. A graduate of the University of Missouri's School of Journalism, she has worked at several newspapers around the Midwest, including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, as a reporter, copy editor, make-up editor, night city editor, wire editor, Metro Section editor and editorial writer. She served the St. Louis Beacon as analyst for the Public Insight Network, a product of Minnesota Public Radio and American Public Media that helps connect journalists with news sources. She continues using the PIN to help inform the news content of St. Louis Public Radio. She is a St. Louis native and lives in Kirkwood.

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