Voices Behind the Vote - Part 1: Small is Beautiful
Elections are about people and choices. In the weeks before Election Day, KUNM is profiling families around New Mexico.
The Voices Behind the Vote includes perspectives that represent the diversity found within our state. We’ve asked people to speak frankly about the political issues they care most about this year.
Today, Sarah Gustavus introduces us to one couple who value independence and are focused on economic issues.
Ted Berthelote and Marcia Hoeman live in Placitas, about a half hour north of Albuquerque. They’re both retired. Ted was a dentist in Washington State. Marcia raised her kids in the Midwest and later worked as an office manager. They met in a yoga class in Scottsdale Arizona 15 years ago.
Most nights, they open a bottle of wine and cook dinner together…which usually means talking about politics
TED: we can’t do much, the two of us
MARCIA: we can whine about it a lot [laugh]…
But one night a week, they tune in to another kind of competition - Dancing with the Stars…which they admit is just as political as elections. Especially now that Bristol Palin, daughter of former Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin, is back on the show.
MARCIA: there’s a big Sarah Palin group that will vote for her and she will get back on and somebody more competent will get knocked out, but that’s the way it is
Ted and Marcia can relate to supporting a candidate who you know won't win. They’re champions for former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson in this year’s presidential election.
TED: Gary Johnson has a gut instinctual understanding of freedom and liberty and what free markets are all about
MARCIA: his unwillingness, when he was governor here to pass all the laws that he could have signed on for, he was phenomenal in saying no. I think we should do more of that – no – we don’t need any more government
Ted and Maria have an independent streak. It’s reflected in the fact that they never felt like they needed to get married…and it’s reflected in their political views.
Both Ted and Marcia say they’re libertarians and don’t like the increase in government spending they’ve seen over their lifetimes.
MARCIA: our government feels like nobody is capable of helping other people so they have to create all these programs for the less fortunate
Marcia says her mother was an avid volunteer, helping out in the community, the way people did, she says, in that generation.
MARCIA: What’s wrong with going back to thinking that way, that we owe something to people less fortunate but not a government creating program forcing us to do it?
TED: the government sees this as a way to enhance its role, to expend its control over the people, by creating dependency. This is a huge problem, I mean, the dependency that’s been created through Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, that’s what’s ballooned the federal debt
Yet, despite their concerns about spending and the national debt, Ted and Marcia are practical. They haven’t turned down social security benefits that they paid into during their careers.
TED: might sound like we’re being hypocritical, right? I’m against social security, I would vote against it, I think it was a gigantic mistake. We’re on Medicare as well. We’d be foolhardy if we turned them down on the basis of moral principle. It’s there, we didn’t create it, we’re against it, and I would be perfectly happy if it was.
MARCIA– …if tomorrow they said social security and Medicare is no more, the insurance companies would get out of the mix for medical.
MARCIA We would pay directly to our doctor like our parents did. The doctor called on our home and my mother and father paid the doctor and if you couldn’t afford, he’d make some arrangement and you’d do a barter or he’d forgive it. You can’t go back but we’re in a mess and I don’t know how we’re going to get out of it.
Ted and Marcia say Gary Johnson is the only candidate they will cast a vote for and they’ll also vote against any local bonds on the ballot.
Johnson was a Republican governor but he’s now running as a Libertarian. He’s been polling at around 4% nationally and Johnson’s campaign has sued for access to the presidential debate.