News

    Romney, Santorum Court Republican Voters Ahead of Illinois Primary

    Republican presidential candidates are campaigning in the midwest state of Illinois ahead of the March 20th primary election. Republicans have been holding a series of contests to choose a nominee to face President Barack Obama, a Democrat, in the November presidential election. While the biggest city in Illinois - Chicago - accounts for a large bloc of voters, people in the rural and more conservative parts of the state could play a major role in determining who wins the Republican primary.  The economy and government spending are the biggest issues on the minds of voters as they head to the polls.

    In his small shop on one of the main streets in downtown Pontiac, Illinois, Jon Sear is hard at work fixing computers.

    He says he runs his business by following a basic principle.

    “You can’t have [a] deficit.  You take in what you get, you spend what you have, other than that you don’t spend it.  It’s common sense,” Sear said.

    Sear says that common sense is lacking in the state government of Illinois, where the estimated budget shortfall is over $11 billion.

    As Republican presidential candidates campaign throughout the state, Illinois budget woes, and federal government spending are on the minds of many voters like Sear and his wife Amy.

    “You worry because you don’t understand how spending more money will make things better when that seems like the total opposite.  You have to pay your bills as citizens, so you want the government to do the same thing I guess,” Sear said.

    Polling shows former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is ahead of former U.S. senator Rick Santorum in Illinois.  While Romney might easily win the support of Chicago’s large group of moderate Republican voters, Santorum is positioned to do well in places outside the city, like Pontiac, Illinois, population 12,000.

    In previous contests, Santorum has emphasized social issues, such as his stand against legalized abortion, to help him win more conservative voters over Romney.

    But Jon Sear says that’s not how it’s playing out in Illinois.

    “They’re important, but I think the budgetary issues are more important,” Sear said.

    “I don’t think we have time for social issues,” said Jim McConoughey, the CEO of the Heartland Partnership, an organization working to stimulate economic development in Central Illinois. “I think social issues are tie breakers for a lot of folks, but everyone wants to get their neighbors back to work and wants to get places for their kids to work.”

    Which is the biggest reason Amy and Jon Sear are so concerned about the future.

    “When you have a child, you start to worry about those things.  What will life be when they reach adulthood?  How bad could it be by then? Will they live in a country like we grew up in and be able to raise a family of their own?,” Amy Sear said.

    Jon and Amy Sear think Rick Santorum has the best answers to those questions, and want him to fix the country’s economic problems so Sear can continue to fix the computers that keep his town, and his family, in business.  It remains to be seen whether enough Illinois Republicans agree or whether they think Romney is the better choice to fix the nation's economic woes.


    Kane Farabaugh

    Kane Farabaugh is the Midwest Correspondent for Voice of America, where since 2008 he has established Voice of America's presence in the heartland of America.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora