Economy, war hot issues in ’04 presidential race

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 31, 2004

NATCHEZ&045;&045;If you ask Miss-Lou voters what issues concern them the most in this presidential election year, you’ll hear the economy mentioned early and often.

Chester Cain, Jr., an administrator with Alcorn State University in Natchez, said the loss of jobs in the area is an obvious concern.

&uot;The economy is the biggest issue, especially in Natchez with all the jobs lost and nothing coming in,&uot; Cain said.

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And with the Democratic primaries just underway, Cain said he’s waiting for a candidate to step forward and challenge President Bush.

&uot;It’s almost like a circus in the beginning.

The Democrats need to solidify behind one candidate to beat Bush,&uot; Cain said.

Some voters, like Vidalia homemaker Polly Bourke, have not paid much attention to television coverage of the campaigning.

&uot;I’m not sure who I’m going to vote for yet.

But I’m going to vote Democratic, because Republicans want to take away too many rights &045;&045; especially from women,&uot; Bourke said.

Others have their minds made up already.

&uot;I’m going to vote for the President,&uot; said Church Hill resident Susie Bates.

&uot;The economy could get a little better, but I believe the President is on the right track.&uot;

Natchez resident and cashier Jasmen Jones said news coverage of Democratic candidate Howard Dean’s embarrassing &uot;scream&uot; incident did catch her attention.

&uot;I liked the way he was coming on to the younger people, but he got a little carried away there,&uot; Jones said.

&uot;I’ll probably vote for Kerry now.&uot;

Despite the lighter moments of the campaigning, most voters remain wary of the economy and the war in Iraq.

Natchez resident and father of one Kenneth Jenkins sees the war effort as an expensive undertaking.

&uot;The biggest issue is the deficit.

And we’re spending a lot of money over there in Iraq,&uot; Jenkins said.

Natchez photographer Bill Morace also said the economy is a main concern for most Americans.

And Morace is distrustful of the government’s motive for our involvement in Iraq.

&uot;This war fiasco was undertaken on false pretenses in the beginning,&uot; Morace said.

&uot;It may have been created to help the economy.&uot;