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Unemployment, Healthcare Important For Arapahoe Voters

Anne Artley |
November 6, 2012 | 5:03 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter

Both Republican and Democrat party leaders in the swing county of Arapahoe, Colo. said they believed their respective candidates would win the vote in their county.

Obama has a slight lead over Romney in Colorado, according to the latest Denver Post poll. 

Voters waited in lines for up to two hours at Mrachak Middle School in Aurora this morning because five machines were shut down and only one poll worker was present, according to MercuryNews.com. 

“More people showed up than we anticipated,” said John Buckley, the Chair of the Arapahoe County Democratic Party. 

Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by about 10,000 registered voters, according to Buckley.

 “I know it’s going to be close, I have no doubt about that,” Buckley said. “But I also believe that Arapahoe County will go the President’s way, and Colorado the President’s way and the country the President’s way like it did in 2008.”

SEE ALSO: Swing State Battleground: Arapahoe, Colorado

 Buckley cites the strong turnout at more than 20,000 for Obama’s appearance at Aurora Community College on Sunday, Nov. 4 as reason to hope for the President’s re-election. 

But Arapahoe Republicans said they have noticed a growing energy around Romney.

 “I know he’s going to take my precinct,” said Laurett Barrentine, the Volunteer Office Manager for the Arapahoe County Republican Party. “I know my area very well and quite honestly, people who have never put a sign up before have a Romney sign in their yard.”

 Romney also spoke in Arapahoe the weekend of Nov. 3. Each candidate has visited eight times according to CBS.

 The most important issue facing Arapahoe is the rising unemployment rate, said Joy Hoffman, chairwoman of the Arapahoe Republican Party.

 Hoffman accused the President of providing funds to alternative energy companies that contributed to his campaign while ignoring Colorado-based solar panel manufacturers Solyndra and Abound. Both companies filed for bankruptcy this year.

 “With Obama picking winners and losers in the alternative energy sectors, we’ve seen job loss, not creation, here in Colorado,” Hoffman said. 

SEE ALSO: Political Gridlock Will Continue Regardless Of Who Wins Election

Obama’s policies stifle oil and gas production too, according to Ed Pendleton, the manager at Pensa, a gas production company in Littleton, Colo. 

“The EPA has expanded under Obama and the restrictions it places on our industry are crippling,” he said. “The cost to equip a well is about $3 million and the EPA imposes restrictions that we had to spend an additional $3 million to meet the requirements. It’s unrealistic.”

Oil and gas production are major industries in Arapahoe, Pendleton said. 

Hoffman said unemployment in the county is also prevalent among soldiers returning from overseas. 

“We have a great deal of military here. We’ve had a 9 percent unemployment rate, but it’s going up as soldiers are being demoralized. It’s a bigger and bigger concern. The food banks are full of people who need food,” she said.

But Judy Steele, the Veterans Certifying Official at Aurora Community College, said she has seen more opportunities for veterans because of the “work the President and Congress have done.”

 Steele cites The Returning Heroes Tax Credit, which gives businesses an incentive up to $5,000 to hire unemployed veterans, and a veterans retraining assistance program as helpful to returning Arapahoe military members. Congress passed both measures in Nov. 2011.

SEE ALSO: NT Media Coverage LiveBlog

 Some younger Arapahoe voters support Obama because of social issues and ‘Obamacare,’ which allows children to stay on their parents’ insurance plan until they’re 26 years old. 

“I think people need to get health insurance whether they live with their parents or not,” said Brianna Snell, 20, a student at Aurora Community College.

Reach Staff Reporter Anne Artley here.




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