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Jane Lew voters' opinions run gamut

Editor's note: With one of the most competitive and important elections just weeks away, The Exponent and Telegram continues its series of stories highlighting the views of our readers in North Central West Virginia.

by Gail Marsh

ASSISTANT CITY EDITOR

JANE LEW -- Some residents of this Lewis County town feel like the government is doing a good job, while others would like to see them do more -- or less.

"If Clinton was able to run again, I'd vote for him. What he does behind closed doors doesn't affect his work, and I know a lot of people that feel the same way about it," said Betty Allman, owner of the Jane Lew Laundromat.

Allman said she plans to vote for Al Gore in the upcoming presidential election, though she's a registered Republican.

"I think Gore is more qualified. He's been in Washington a good while and has been a good vice president. I'm sure he knows more about the world situation," she said.

Dana Hall, who works in the Jane Lew area, feels quite differently.

"I'll vote for George Bush because of his stand on right to life for one thing. Everyone talks about rights, but what about the rights of the child who doesn't have a voice," he said.

Hall said he likes Bush's stand on gun control and said more gun laws would only hamper law abiding citizens. He would also like to see another vote on the marriage penalty tax.

"Because of marriage penalty tax, there's no incentive to be married if both people are working. I was disappointed to see Clinton veto the tax break on married couples," he said.

Several other residents, who would not give their names, said they won't bother to vote at all in the upcoming general election. Brenda Stalnaker, who lives in Burnsville and works in Jane Lew, said she wasn't even sure who was running in most of the races.

"I don't feel like our vote really matters when it comes to changing anything. I don't think the people that run the government really know what working people need," she said.

"I get irritated about a lot of things that they do, so that's probably why I don't vote," she said.

Laura Shaffer of Jane Lew, who works with Stalnaker, said she also doubts if she will go to the polls.

"I don't think I'll vote because it doesn't really count. Changing who is in office doesn't make much difference," she said.

When it comes to issues, Shaffer said she would like to see more done for the children of the state who need health care coverage. That's something a lot of working parents can't afford, she said.

"My husband and I both work, but it's still hard to find a health insurance plan we can afford. I think all the kids in West Virginia, rich or poor, should have health insurance. But if you work, it works against you," she said.

Shaffer said she knows a lot of people who don't think that voting will make any difference or bring any relief.

"I think there ought to be a law that if you are out there working and trying to make a living, that the government would say, 'Look, they're trying, let's help them,'" she said.

Assistant City Editor Gail Marsh can be reached at 626-1447 or by e-mail at gmarsh@exponent-telegram.com.

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