Occupation: Retired, Poll Worker
Like most voters, Carmel Field hasn't gotten the chance to talk to a political candidate in person. But even if she did get to vent her concerns, she doesn't believe he or she would really listen.
Field's positions and values undoubtedly skew towards the Democratic side. But as she talks to me between distributing ballots to voters at a southside Springfield polling center, she says "an open-mind" is the most defining characteristic she is looking for in her pick for the next president of the United States.
"I don't agree with everything the Republicans are doing, or the Democrats are doing," she says. "I just don't want our next President to be so hard-headed or close-minded," she says.
Her concerns vary from the economy to our standing in the world. "We have to get along with other nations in the world," she says. Closer to home, she's critical of Governor Matt Blunt's Medicaid cuts but also believes doctors are the ones being penalized. "I feel sorry for the hospitals and doctors, because they are not paid what they are worth," she says.
She returns to her "open-minded" theme when commenting about Blunt. "I don't think he consults with others enough, outside his spectrum. Does he ever even include someone with a different viewpoint in the discussion,?" she asks.
But Field's top concern is a very local one. She's worried about the homeless and unemployed who wander the streets and near her neighborhood near Campbell and Madison Streets. "Republicans don't believe in government solutions. But something has to be done about these people. We need to get them into school or a work program before they cause greater problems down the road for us all," she says.
While she's supporting Jay Nixon for Governor, it's unclear which Democratic presidential candidate will ultimately win her over. She's undecided between Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards. ("It looks like it'll be one of those three," she observes.)
But whichever candidate appears to "listen" the most probably has the best shot.