TORONTO - Many voters say they want change, but they're cautious about just what change they will get as a result of their vote Nov. 2.
About 150 people came to Karaffa Middle School Thursday night to hear the candidates for county coroner, 95th District Ohio House of Representatives and Jefferson County Commissioner. Sixth District candidates Bill Johnson, the Republican; Richard Cadle, Constitution Party; and Martin Elsass, Libertarian, took part in the event. U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson, D-St. Clairsville, didn't arrive until just before the forum for the congressional candidates began during the formal program. County commission candidate Wayne Harris, the Republican opponent of incumbent Democrat Thomas "Bo" Graham, was unable to attend.
Laura Cade of Steubenville works in Toronto in banking and said she sees the struggles of small business.
"I came tonight because I am very interested in this election, more than ever. I want to be an informed voter," she said. Cade said she thinks government now has an agenda that is compromising Americans' freedoms. She said she wanted to meet with Johnson and talk about a repeal of Obamacare. She said she had made known to Wilson during the health care debate that she wasn't for it, "but Charlie Wilson didn't listen to me." She said calling a congressman's office was a first for her.
"I've never called anyone," she said. "But I am very frightened. I do not like all this money they're spending.
"A lot of people wanted change, but not the change we got," she said.
Jim Conrad, business representative of Carpenters Local 186, was in attendance with some of his union members.
"We're here to support Lou Gentile (the Democrat seeking the 95th Ohio House seat)," he said.
Jim Wilson of Richmond, with Conrad, said, "We're in bad shape right now. We need to keep the incumbents. This didn't happen overnight and it will take awhile to fix it."
Marie Hosdil of Steubenville is part of Steubenville for Liberty, a Tea Party group. She said Thursday night is usually the group's prayer night, but they held their prayer at the forum. She said it's important for people to vote with intelligence.
Marshall Myers of Steubenville said, "A lot of people are concerned with the way this country is headed." He said people have to "try your best to participate in the democratic process."
Jim Paoloemilio of Wintersville, a retired automobile dealer and World War II veteran, said the nation needs to change course.
"I'm looking for somebody who wants to save our country," he said. "I'm a disabled combat veteran of World War II. I paid a high price for our democracy and I want to see it continue."
Paoloemilio said he wants to see candidates who will work to rebuild the nation's military.
The event was organized by the Toronto Coalition for Revitalization and drew about 150 people.
In addition to candidates, there was a session on ballot issues including levies for the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County, the Jefferson County Joint Vocational School, the Toronto City Schools and the Indian Creek School District.
(Giannamore can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)