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One Year Before 2016 Election, Voters Share Messages For Candidates

Nov 8, 2015
Originally published on November 16, 2015 10:10 am

One year from today, voters will decide who becomes the next president of the United States. Over the past several days, we asked people around the country what they want to hear — and not hear — from candidates over the next 12 months.


Brenda Alston is a retiree from Orlando, Fla.

"Anything that really doesn't relate to improving the status and position of the American public, you can stop that. We don't talk about what people look like. We don't name call. Things like that I think are ineffective, unproductive. They don't move us forward in terms of solutions to issues. Talk about the issues."


Mark Gannon of Dublin, Ohio, voted for Mitt Romney in 2012

"I think the economy is probably number one in my mind, defense is certainly important, immigration is something we need to address as a country as well...I think a lot of the social issues I'm just really tired of hearing about. I mean, I think people use those to divide people."


Kimb Williamson of Phoenix, Ariz., voted for Barack Obama in 2012.

"Many of the candidates state their interpretation of the Constitution as saying that that is what our forefathers intended, and I don't believe that there's that many constitutional specialists that are currently running for candidacy in either party."


Fred and Maria LaCourt are Republican voters from Milwaukee, Wisc.

"Tax reform, national security, immigration, most of the main issues Americans are concerned about because I believe all of those issues are affecting the economy and the future of the United States."


Jonathan Weber is a Democratic voter from Los Angeles, Calif.

"I definitely want to hear the candidates talk about income inequality. I think that's a big problem in this country. I think that too many people are benefiting from a system at the expense of others."


Cassy Stevens, a college student from Conway, S.C., is voting in her first presidential race and is fond of Republican Rand Paul.

"I get so tired of hearing all of them bashing each other. Whether or not they disagree or agree with people's concerns."


Angela Frinch of Phoenix, Ariz., voted for Obama in 2012 and says her political hero is Jesus.

"Really picking at one another, and we're not interested in hearing — at least I'm not interested in hearing that. I'm interested in hearing their plans for the country, their desires, their hopes, their dreams for the country."


Majeed Aziz of Silver Spring, Md., is a U.S. citizen who was born in Afghanistan.

"There's a lot of smearing right now between Hillary [Clinton] and Bernie [Sanders], and Donald Trump is a bit of a side show. So all in all, I'd say I'm pretty disappointed with the quality of the candidates and what they're actually promising, and what they're actually gonna be able to deliver on. So we'll see what happens."

Reporting contributed by Renata Sago of member station WMFE in Orlando, Fla., Jude Joffe-Block of member station KJZZ in Phoenix, Ariz., NPR's Tamara Keith and NPR's Jessica Taylor. Edited by Arnie Seipel.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. You may already feel exhausted by the presidential campaign. But gird yourselves because today marks exactly one year till Election Day. The primary campaigns are well underway. With another 12 months left to go, we surveyed voters from around the country about the issues they want to hear presidential candidates focus on and what they're already tired of hearing about. Here's NPR's Sarah McCammon.

SARAH MCCAMMON, BYLINE: On clear fall days, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is a popular stop for visitors from all over the country, like Mark Gannon of Dublin, Ohio. He's got a list of things he wants the next resident of this address to make a priority.

MARK GANNON: I think the economy is probably number one in my mind. Yeah, defense is certainly important. I think immigration is something that we need to address as a country as well.

MCCAMMON: Gannon voted for Republican Mitt Romney in 2012. And he says he's likely to support the GOP nominee next year. Fred and Maria LaCourt of Milwaukee lean Republican too. And they have similar concerns.

FRED LACOURT: Tax reform, national security, immigration - most of the main issues that most of the Americans are concerned about because I believe all of those issues are affecting the economy and the future of the United States.

MCCAMMON: Economic issues are also top of mind for Jonathan Weber of Los Angeles. He's a Democrat.

JONATHAN WEBER: I definitely want to hear the candidates talk about income inequality. I think that's a big problem in this country. I think that, you know, too many people are benefiting from a system at the expense of others.

MCCAMMON: Voters around the country that we interviewed this week had at least as many issues they're tired of hearing candidates talk about. Here's Republican voter Mark Gannon again.

GANNON: I think a lot of the social issues I'm just really tired of hearing about. I mean, I think, you know, people use those to divide people.

MCCAMMON: Kim Williamson (ph), who we reached in Phoenix, Ariz., voted for Obama in 2012. She says it's time to stop talking about the Constitution, or at least candidates' personal readings of the document.

KIM WILLIAMSON: Many of the candidates state their interpretation of the Constitution as saying that that is what our forefathers intended. And I don't believe that there's that many constitutional specialists that are currently running for either party.

MCCAMMON: And the number one thing voters of all stripes told us they want the candidates to please, please stop talking about...

CASSY STEVENS: Really, each other. I get so tired of hearing all of them bashing each other.

ANGELA FRINCH: One another (laughter) yes, really picking at one another.

BRENDA ALSTON: You can stop that. We don't talk about what people look like. We don't name call.

MCCAMMON: Those voices were Cassy Stevens, a student at Winthrop University in South Carolina, and retirees Angela Frinch of Phoenix and Brenda Alston, who we found in Orlando, Fla. Back outside the White House, Majeed Aziz of Silver Spring, Md., who's originally from Afghanistan and is now a U.S. citizen, says he wants to hear more about issues like health care and foreign policy. He thinks the bickering on both sides is getting in the way.

MAJEED AZIZ: There's a lot of smearing right now between Hillary and Bernie. And Donald Trump is a bit of a side show. So all in all, I would say I'm pretty disappointed with the quality of the candidates and what they're actually promising and what they're actually going to be able to deliver on. So we'll see what happens.

MCCAMMON: But not for another year. Sarah McCammon, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.