Local Politics

Joblessness has some in Weldon weighing presidential choice

Posted October 8, 2012 6:00 p.m. EDT
Updated October 8, 2012 6:38 p.m. EDT

— The unemployment rate in Halifax County has hovered around 14 percent for more than a year, so the economy is a main issue of concern for voters there as the presidential election approaches.

Although Halifax and neighboring Northampton County went for Barack Obama in 2008, some voters say they're considering backing Republican Mitt Romney in November instead to see if a change will get the economy moving again.

"I haven't decided yet," nonagenarian Mary Joyner, a lifelong Democrat, said of her choice for president. "I'd reckon you'd call it considering (a Romney vote)."

Joyner cited the former Massachusetts governor's business background and his personality as reasons she is wavering on her support for Obama.

Her son, however, remains staunchly behind the president, saying partisanship in Washington, D.C., is preventing the country from moving forward.

"I'm sticking with Obama," said Mike Joyner, 59. "I just think he's doing a good job. I think Congress is what our problem is."

Curry Roberts has a job designing websites and can support his family of four children, ages 3 to 14. Still, he worries about the economy and the drain of jobs as companies shift operations overseas.

"I know people personally who are drawing unemployment who will turn down jobs they're applying for because they aren't paying as much as unemployment," Roberts, 38, said.

Troy Price, 19, is preparing to cast his first vote for president, and he's already tuned in to the economic sentiment that has made North Carolina a swing state in the election.

"We already know the economy is in the gutter, and for the past few years, we had Democrats," Price said. "That hasn't been turning out so good, so I'm thinking maybe we should give Republicans a try."