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For local voters, no one issue prevails come Election Day
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For local voters, no one issue prevails come Election Day

Economy, health care, Israel jockey for place at top of their lists

Staff Writer, New Jersey Jewish News

Rimma Sherman worries about socialized medicine. Photos by Johanna Ginsberg
Rimma Sherman worries about socialized medicine. Photos by Johanna Ginsberg

No one issue dominated the thoughts of voters as they exited the Livingston Community Center on Election Day.

Voters spoke on issues from the economy and Israel to health care, taxes, and the competence of elected officials.

Some ran right, others voted straight Democrat, and at least one voted a mixed ticket.

Most, however, were more focused on the congressional election than on local ballots.

While the economy was probably the number one issue for voters throughout the United States, only one of the voters in NJJN’s highly unscientific exit poll cited it when asked about the issues at the top of his list.

“My concern is where the country stands right now and getting us back on the right track moving forward,” said Lewis Gikow. “I think we need a change.”

Gikow said he doesn’t think members of Congress, in either party, are responsive enough to the people they represent.

Medical issues and health care topped the list for two Soviet immigrants, Sofya Volkov and Rimma Sherman, who both voted Republican.

“I’m very upset,” Volkov said. “I’m a senior citizen and I’m on Social Security, and the medical insurance that I buy goes up every three months. I started with one amount and in a year it doubled. I don’t understand how senior citizens on Social Security are able to afford that.”

Sherman, a physician who once practiced in the former Soviet Union, worries about President Obama’s health-care plan, which she views as “socialized medicine.”

“My background is in the former USSR. I was working as a physician there and I know what socialization can do to people. A major concern is when will people realize socialized medicine will put this country in grave danger from a health-care point of view and from the perspective of giving too much power to the government,” she said.

Sherman was also the only one NJJN spoke with who put Israel at the top of her agenda. She placed it ahead of health care, calling it her “number one issue.”

“I think only the Republican Party at this point does realize the importance of Israel and I’m exceedingly concerned about our government not being proactive toward Iran,” she said.

Lori Schwartz said she was more focused on not making dramatic changes than on any particular issue. She said she was “consistent” in her voting.

“I think giving the party taking care of things the opportunity to really take care of them is the most important issue,” she said. “No knee-jerk reaction, no changing the party after two years. I think we need to stay the course.”

One voter, Kevin Lastorino, said he cast his ballot for “a combination of folks.” Topping his list? “How we’re spending our money.”

Two people specifically discussed the local election. Nancy Barrie-Chivian expressed concern with regard to certain candidates. “It’s not so much the issues as competence,” she said. “I want someone I felt was experienced” in local positions. As far as national elections, she said, she voted “straight across the board Democratic.”

Leonard Krawitz said he supported incumbents in the local elections.

“They say they have the town running right and want to continue running right. The others say everything is all screwed up and we’re being taxed too much, and I believe they don’t know what they’re talking about.”

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