Sunday, March 09, 2008

Ozarks Values '08: Patrick Counterman

Residence: Springfield
Occupation: Graduate Student in Psychology
Politics: Leans Democratic

Patrick Counterman and his wife Missie are part of the growing number of Americans trying to manage a blended family. They have a total of seven kids from previous marriages and their current one. A former teacher, Missie works at Burrell Health while Patrick heads back to graduate school to try to advance himself professionally.

Needless to say, having more money to pay the bills is their top concern.

"I wish there was assistance for people who need help, who are trying to do themselves better, not just riding the system," Counterman says. "Help for people who are trying to start over and make it, a bit later in life."

Counterman believes Hillary Clinton is the best presidential candidate to address his family's economic troubles. After all, "she did a good job the first time around," he says. He could warm up to Barack Obama, if he ends up the nominee. But he also likes Hillary because she seems ready for a fight. "I think she's tough."

Statewide, his eyes are also on the economy and healthcare. "I'm glad Matt Blunt's not running," he points out quickly. He says it seems like as soon as Blunt took office, he started seeing changes he didn't like. Less art and music programs in the school his wife taught in. Higher Medicaid rates for his parents.

Counterman isn't opposed to voting for a Republican. He respects John McCain for "a more moderate approach." But he's tired of hearing the Republican line about lower taxes -- and doesn't believe it will work on any level this year.

"Republicans are so worried about keeping taxes low. It's so selfish. I don't even mind if they raised taxes if I felt like I was getting more out if them," he says.

Still, the race for Governor here is not even on Counterman's radar yet. When I asked him about Jay Nixon, he wasn't sure about his party. Sarah Steelman? Heard the name, but don't know her. Kenny Hulshof? Not a clue.

That's why we have campaigns though. And when the times comes, Counterman says he'll keep his mind open and be watching closely.

If you'd like to be profiled in our Ozarks Values '08 series, you can send an e-mail to

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