News / USA

Voters in Appalachia Struggling to Identify With Presidential Candidates

Voters in Appalachia Struggling to Identify With Presidential Candidatesi
|| 0:00:00
X
Kane Farabaugh
September 02, 2012 7:27 PM
Outside the growing city of Charlotte, North Carolina - host to the 2012 Democratic National Convention - a different section of America watches. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh looks at how people who live just a few hours west of the convention, in the region known as Appalachia, view the political conventions, and the state of the race for President.

Voters in Appalachia Struggling to Identify With Presidential Candidates

TEXT SIZE - +
Kane Farabaugh
KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Outside the growing city of Charlotte, North Carolina - host to the 2012 Democratic National Convention - a different section of America watches. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh looks at how people who live just a few hours west of the convention, in the region known as Appalachia, view the political conventions, and the state of the race for President.

Rural Roane County Tennessee sits in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.

"It's really the heart of the bible belt," says Gary Johnston of Roane County Tea Party. "A lot of churches."

Though not far from the Democratic National Convention in the neighboring state of North Carolina, retired musician Gary Johnston says the gap in views between those who live here, and those assembled to nominate President Barack Obama for a second term, are wide.

"I believe this country is doomed if this President is elected for four more years," he adds.

Johnston is not happy with President Obama's health care legislation, which requires more Americans to purchase health insurance or face penalties. He is also upset with stimulus programs put in place during the Presidents term in office. He is so passionately opposed to President Obama, that he joined fellow conservative activists to buy a billboard saying "Obama or America - You can't have both."

"It means that you can either have America as you know it, or you can choose to keep this President and America will forever be changed," he says.

“I think some of these things are near treasonous quite frankly,” says teacher Gloria Johnson, a Democrat, passes the billboard on her way into the nearby city of Knoxville, where she faces an uphill battle in her race for a seat in the Republican controlled Tennessee legislature.
 
“It is tough to be the underdog sometimes,” says Johnson.
 
In a part of the country where voters have recently elected more Republicans into state office, Johnson is hoping to get a boost from younger Democrats in Knoxville, like students at the University of Tennessee. But she knows that in order to win in November, she needs to win over some Republican voters.
 
“Most of my family are Republicans, and I don’t think that they feel Mitt Romney is somebody who represents them," says Johnson. "A lot of Tennesseans don’t feel like Mitt Romney represents them.”
 
Gary Johnston says many people throughout lower income Appalachian communities in East Tennessee don’t identify with the Republican nominee for President because Mitt Romney is wealthy and doesn't know what its like to be unemployed.

“I’ll begrudgingly vote for him, though I think he’s a good man,” said Johnston.
 
Johnston says he is starting to warm up to both Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan after watching television coverage of the Republican National Convention in Tampa which he said "humanized" the Republican ticket.
 
Gloria Johnson hopes the same happens for President Obama in Charlotte, where as a delegate from Tennessee, she plans to cast her vote for his nomination for a second term as President.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid