Takoma Park Voters Divide on Slots
While heavily Democratic Takoma Park was expected to be a shoe-in for Obama, the question of how local residents would vote on whether to allow slots gambling in Maryland proved far less certain as the went to the polls Tuesday morning.
Laurie Welch, 56, a physician, said she did volunteer work both for Obama and against slots. She predicted that at least two-thirds of Takoma Park voters would oppose slots.
"Slots are much more divisive here," Welch said as she oassed out leaflets at Our Lady of Sorrows Church.
Near her in line, voters Matthew Graham and Jared Hughes engaged in a boisterous debate about the issue.
"Government should not promote and support a vice," said Hughes, 36, operations manager for FotoWeekDC, a photography event. "It's a tax on poor people."
Matthew Graham, a patent engineer, countered him, saying Maryland already has gambling via the lottery and race tracks. "The little old ladies who play slots don't do a lot of crime," said Graham, 48.
The slots issue provoked debate within families as well.
Kay and Harry Brooks, of Takoma Park, said they both voted for Obama at Piney Branch Elementary School but cancelled each other's slots vote.
"They are going to gamble anyway," said Harry, 68, a retired District government worker. "At least you can get some revenue out of it."
Kay, 62, also a retired District government worker, countered with, "But why make it convenient?"
Jennifer Murray, 28, of Takoma Park, said she planned to vote "no" on slots, saying she was convinced by the anti-slots arguments of Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot (D).
"It's going to cause more problems than it solves," Murray said. The comptroller, she said, "knows what's going on better than I do, and he seems quite against it."
Her boyfriend, Jesse Boyer, 37, said, he would cancel her anti-slots vote.
"I'm naively optimistic that it's eventually going to funnel back to the schools," Boyer said. "I have two little kids.
-- Steve Hendrix
November 4, 2008; 9:29 AM ET
Categories: 2008 Elections , Slots
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