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Lost Creek residents have varying opinions of both state and na

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

LOST CREEK -- Residents of this southern Harrison County town have strong feelings about the presidential and governor's races in the upcoming general election.

"I wish John McCain was the one running," said Jack Smith, who lives in Rockford just outside of Lost Creek.

"I'm not voting for Bush just because I'm a Republican, because I've often changed parties on the ticket. The reason I'm voting for Bush is that I wouldn't vote for Al Gore under any circumstances," he said.

Smith believes Gore is a Washington insider whose stance on the environment would hurt the state of West Virginia.

"If Gore had his way, he would close down the mining, oil and gas industry, really anything that has to do with fossil fuel," he said.

When it comes to the governor's race, Smith said he feels about the same.

"With Bob Wise, you get the word of a congressman who for the last few years followed the Clinton-Gore policies down the line. I wouldn't vote for him," he said.

Eight years ago, Smith was the county chairman for the Ross Perot for president campaign. He said he would love to see a strong third-party movement, but said Democrats and Republicans are so entrenched in the state, it's hard to get a third-party candidate on the ballot.

"West Virginia is supposed to be the second hardest state to get a third party on the ballot, and the ruling parties want to keep it that way," he said.

Goldie Gray, of Rockford, is taking the opposite stand.

"I just think Bob Wise is the man to vote for. I listened to the debates the other night and I really don't have that much against Underwood. I just think Bob Wise would do a better job," she said.

In the presidential race, Gray is casting her vote for Gore.

"I think Al Gore has a better plan for Medicare and covering senior prescriptions. I'm a senior citizen and I know what it's like to buy medicine. I feel sorry for some of the people who can't afford it," she said.

Sue Simons, of Mount Clare, said she agrees with Gray.

"I'm a Democrat, though I don't vote a straight ticket, but I think Bob Wise would do a better job," she said.

Simons said she wasn't as confident about the choices for president.

"Sometimes you feel like you don't have much of a choice, so you vote for the lesser of two evils. With all the things that are going on around the world, we have to have someone who will be a solid president," she said.

Dan Cooley, a Lost Creek resident, said he'll be voting for Bush because of his stand on abortion and family values and his views on gun control.

"I feel like Gore plans to take steps to get more restrictions that could eventually lead to taking our guns away. Being a hunter and gun owner, I don't agree with that. I think Bush's stand would be more friendly to sportsmen," he said.

Cooley said he plans to vote for Underwood in the governor's race for some of the same reasons.

"I think his morals and values are a little stronger than what Wise portrays. Wise just keeps attacking Underwood, but I think that state has done pretty good under him," he 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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