Wednesday, June 21, 2000

   Voters take Gore's measure

Most said they'll watch, wait before taking sides

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEXINGTON — Regena Pollard would seem to be the kind of voter eager to back Democrat Al Gore for president.

        The career educator, mother and long-time Democrat voted for Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996. She also favors most of the party's policies and proposals and said she has always been a fan of the vice president.

        But as she waited for Mr. Gore to deliver a speech here Tuesday, Mrs. Pollard said she has not decided if he will win her vote on Election Day.

        “For the most part, I really like him,” said Mrs. Pollard, 48, an administrator with the Hopkins County School System in Madisonville, Ky.

        “But I just haven't decided who I'm going to vote for,” said Mrs. Pollard, in Lexington Tuesday for an education convention. “I like some of the things (George W.) Bush is saying. I'm just going to have to wait and see after we get into more of the campaign.”

        Mr. Gore made a brief campaign stop in central Kentucky on Tuesday to announce his government-backed retirement savings plan. He delivered a 20-minute speech at Heritage Hall, a small gathering place adjacent to Lexington's Rupp Arena and a Hyatt Hotel.

        Mrs. Pollard said some of the scandals of the Clinton administration, from sex to charges of illegal fund-raising, have somewhat tainted her view of Mr. Gore.

        “I think he's a good man, but some of the things that went on make me a little nervous,” she said. “Charac ter is very important to me when I vote for somebody.”

        Linda Zellich, 48, was traveling with Mrs. Pollard and also attended the education conference. Several members of their group were planning to have lunch at noon Tuesday in a food court near the Hyatt when they were approached by Democratic Party staffers and offered tickets to Mr. Gore's speech.

        “Maybe they couldn't fill the room, but I was glad they asked me,” said Mrs. Zellich, the assistant superintendent of the Hopkins County schools.

        Like Mrs. Pollard, Mrs. Zellich is a registered Democrat. Unlike her colleague, she voted for Republican George Bush in 1992. Now, Mr. Bush's son is running against Mr. Gore.

        “I'm a Democrat who voted for George Bush, but I'm just not sure who I'm going to vote for this year,” Mrs. Zellich said. “Some of the things Mr. Gore stands for I have trouble agreeing with.

        “I agree that we need to look out for the environment like Al Gore wants to, but we need to temper some of that stuff because it can go too far,” she said.

        Bobby Rorer doesn't have any doubts about who he'll vote for.

        “I like Al Gore. I like him a lot,” said Mr. Rorer, 77, a retired farmer from Lawrenceburg, Ky. He drove about 25 miles to hear Mr. Gore's speech.

        “It was really helpful and nice to see him in person,” Mr. Rorer said.

        “I always vote Democrat anyway, but I feel real comfortable with him.”

Gore promotes retirement plan during Ky. stop
-    Voters take Gore's measure

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