‘Trying to save the country’: Find out what local voters are saying as they leave the polls

Lauren and Brian Griffing take their daughters Laine, 2, and Evelyn, 7 months, to the polls before work. The Griffings are both teachers and are excited about their vote, Lauren said.

Herald staff

As polls close in the eastern region of Kentucky, voters have been voicing their concerns with Kentucky politics and their reasons for voting in this year’s election.

Voters who spoke after casting their ballots at W.R. McNeill Elementary School mentioned reproductive rights and pensions as their primary focus issues when they voted. 

Gladys Faller, 90, said reproductive rights and electability inspired her to vote in this election.

“I want to see my candidates get in office,” Faller said.

Attention on this year’s election has fallen largely on the race for Kentucky’s next governor, with Attorney General Andy Beshear running against Gov. Matt Bevin.

At a campaign stop in Bowling Green on Monday, Beshear expressed why Kentuckians should vote for him.

“If you believe we should honor the retirements and pensions of every police officer, firefighter and social worker, vote for me,” Beshear said. 

Also in attendance at McNeill Elementary was Creeson Martin, a political science and public relations student at WKU. Martin said the ongoing pension crisis, especially with public school teachers, has encouraged him to come vote.

“They’re educating the future,” Martin said about teachers. 

Colin Taylor was also at the polls. Taylor said he does not identify as a Republican or a Democrat, but issues around abortion and reproductive rights have made him come out.

“That is an issue I feel strongly about, it’s one of the most important issues to me so I vote along those lines,” Taylor said.

Also at the polls was Lily Hedges, 86, who said she has always voted in elections and this cycle was no different.

“It’s probably going to be a very close race,” Hedges said. “I wanted to be sure my vote got counted for my man.”

Voters who spoke at Eastwood Baptist Church were primarily focused on the pension when they cast their vote. 

Carol and Jenna Greer, 58 and 26 years old respectively, said they wanted to see Kentucky stabilize its budget while supporting teachers.

“I would like to see our state budget in good shape, I’d like to see our education system, specifically our teachers, well supported,” Carol Greer said. “I’m not an authority on this, but I’d like to see their financial futures well funded.”

Peggy and Bob Jameson, 75 and 76 years old respectively, also talked about their hope to see teacher retirements be fully funded, but also voiced their concern over reproductive rights and immigration issues. 

“Abortion, and open borders, and sanctuary cities, we don’t want any of those,” Peggy Jameson said.

President Donald Trump and other Republican politicians spoke about immigration issues during Trump’s rally with Bevin in Lexington on Monday.

{{tncms-inline account=”Rebekah Alvey” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Trump: "Beshear doesn't represent you, he represents the Washington swamp… He wants sanctuary cities. Beshear is too liberal, too extreme and too dangerous for the state of Kentucky. Tomorrow everyone needs to vote Republican."</p>— Rebekah Alvey (@bekah_alvey) <a href="https://twitter.com/bekah_alvey/status/1191516913307934720?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 5, 2019</a></blockquote>” id=”https://twitter.com/bekah_alvey/status/1191516913307934720″ type=”twitter”}}

“I think more help for the teachers, I think that’s a big issue for us,” Peggy Jameson also added. “Our daughter is a teacher.”

Mike Giorgio, a 72-year-old former Herald staffer and teacher, voted at Briarwood Elementary School. He said that he’s never missed a vote since he was 18, and he was passionate about participating in this election.

“That’s number one, I vote every time,” Giorgio said. “Number two, trying to save the country that we know of today, and trying to prevent the liberals from taking over and ruining everything.”

This is a developing story and more information will be added as we speak to more voters. 

Brody Rexing, Michael Collins and Jack Dobbs contributed to this report. They can be reached at [email protected].