Now that Sen. Barack Obama is the Democratic presidential candidate, Black voters are sounding off over changes they would like to see, should he win in the November 4 election. Universal health care topped voters’ list. “Health care for every
Now that Sen. Barack Obama is the Democratic presidential candidate, Black voters are sounding off over changes they would like to see, should he win in the November 4 election.
Universal health care topped voters’ list.
“Health care for everyone is needed in this country because too many people are dying due to no health insurance,” said Jerome Donald Sr., 52. “There’s no reason for anyone living in America not to have adequate health care when we are the richest country around.”
Seniors are especially having a hard time because they often need medical attention, said Sophia Lyles, 38.
“I have helped care for ailing seniors so I know firsthand how fast they deteriorate if they do not have proper health insurance, which gives them access to doctors and specialists,” she said. “The cost of health care today is unbelievable. It makes you want to cry sometimes.”
Sylvester Rodgers, 25, suffers from diabetes and each week he goes to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital on the West Side to receive free insulin because he does not have health insurance.
“I work full time, but the health insurance plan offered by my employer is $300 a month, and that’s too expensive, especially when you’re only bringing home $1,200 a month,” he said. “I do not own a car because I cannot afford it. I do not own a home because I cannot afford it. And I cannot afford to get sick either.”
But not being able to see a doctor is only one dilemma when it comes to health care concern.
“Let’s not forget about prescription drugs,” said Jean Woods, 58, who lives on the same block as Obama in the Hyde Park community. “Getting a prescription filled is costly and this is not limited to seniors. It affects everyone, from children to adults.”
Education funding and high energy prices were other concerns voters said they want to see Obama change.
“As a former member of the public school system, I would love to see more funding, resources and educational options provided for students and teachers,” Brenda Gilbert, 48, said. “The Chicago public school system has many knowledgeable and dedicated teachers, (but) without the funding or adequate resources, neither the students nor the teachers (will be) able to reach their fullest potential.”
More federal grants for college students are also needed, Woods added.
“We need to make sure these kids can go to college without them having to borrow the kitchen sink from a lender to finance college,” she said.
Gasoline prices in Chicago are among the highest in the nation and have forced many families to alter their mode of transportation.
“I traded in my SUV because I could not afford to pay $80 a week to fill it up, so I got rid of it,” said Tyra Jones, 39. “Now I drive a Pontiac Sunfire, a small car that takes $40 to fill up. If gas prices go up any higher, I will buy me a bike and ride it to work.”
Denise Dean, 42, said if gas prices get any higher in Chicago, lenders can expect to see auto loan defaults.
“Having somewhere for your family to live is the most important bill for most Black households. Having a car is near the bottom,” she said. “So if a person has to choose which one to pay, you can bet it won’t be the car.”
Sandra Kirk-Franklin, 47, said Obama should not only look at gasoline prices but also the rising foreclosure and unemployment rates.
“People are hurting out here. They are losing their jobs. Losing their homes, and with no relief in sight, they will soon lose their mind too,” Franklin said. “These are things that are impacting households all over, particularly in the Black community.”
Wendell Hutson can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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