SHINNSTON -- While close races in both the presidential and state gubernatorial races have grabbed the attention and interest of residents state-wide, many citizens of this small Harrison County town believe the outcomes may not be as close as they appear.
"Despite the mud-slinging and the attack ads, (Gov. Cecil) Underwood has a long history with this state and has done some very good things," said John Thomas. "As far as the presidential race, it may be close with the popular vote, but Bush has secured some of the bigger states, and I don't think the electoral college vote is even going to be close."
Thomas said many of the bigger issues that he is concerned with, both on the state as well as national levels, are gun control, education and lowering health costs.
"Unfortunately, I don't think that it matters who gets into office," he said. "Nothing ever gets done and nothing ever will."
Single mother Sara Short said she worries about how she will pay for her family's medical costs and about education. Short sees the problems with teacher retention and pay as a significant factor in what she calls a "declining state of education" in the state and the mass exodus of college graduates each year.
"Why would anyone choose to stay?" she asked. "There are more jobs, and better jobs, in other states. The only ones who stay are the ones who can't leave."
While voter apathy does not completely dominate the community, many people throughout Shinnston are undecided about their choices for the next leaders of the state and country.
"I just don't know," said Mac Jenkins. "I hear one ad and think I'll vote for Bush and then two minutes later I hear another ad and Gore sounds like the best choice. You just don't know what to believe anymore."
Regional writer James Fisher can be reached at 626-1446 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.