Crowd Fired Up by Ryan’s Message

MORRISTOWN – Kathryn Thalman blames President Barack Obama’s health care and taxation policies for the loss of her job with a pharmaceutical company, so she is working to make sure he loses his.

“I am a victim of Obama’s policies. Research and development is down, so pharmaceutical companies are cutting back,” said the St. Clairsville resident while attending Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s Saturday speech at Valley View Campgrounds.

Enduring the wet, windy and cool conditions at the event, Thalman joined hundreds of others who were waiting to hear Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s running mate speak. Ryan, a congressman from Wisconsin, told Thalman and others attendees he is working to reduce debt and create jobs.

“This was a very good speech,” said St. Clairsville resident Susan Ball.

“I am in favor of freedom and liberty. The current administration wants us to be dependent upon government. At the same time other nations are moving away from socialism, the Obama administration is moving us toward socialism,” Ball added.

Both the Obama and Romney campaigns are spending large amounts of time and money trying to win Ohio’s 18 electoral votes, which both candidates consider vital to collect. No president has taken office without winning the Buckeye State since John F. Kennedy in 1960.

“I am really concerned about what the future is going to hold for my sons,” said St. Clairsville resident Mark McKeen. “Are they going to be able to find jobs when they get out of college?”

McKeen also said federal government spending is too high, while noting he also wants to see the country take bold steps toward achieving energy independence.

And although they are not yet old enough to drive, middle school students Luke Matusik of Sardis and Garrett Greenlee of Hannibal came to the event with their grandparents to hear the Ryan speech.

“I believe Romney can help turn this country around. Obama is doing a terrible job,” said Greenlee. “Romney cares about people. He wants to stop the war on coal.”

“I really believe in his ethics,” Matusik added of Romney.

Marietta, Ohio, resident Melissa Nayak and her family made the trip north to hear Ryan’s Morristown speech.

“I believe they (Romney/Ryan) stand for the values I believe in. They listen to people – and they listen to God,” she said.

Coming all the way from Pittsburgh for the event was Romney/Ryan supporter Theresa Doerfler. Noting Romney has a “good heart,” she believes the former Massachusetts governor is set to lead the U.S.

“My main concerns are for my grandchildren,” she said. “If we continue down the path we are on now, they may not know freedom the way we have known it.”

West Virginia’s five electoral votes are favored to end up in the Romney column, and Wheeling residents David and Elizabeth Quinlin are doing their part to make sure that is the case.

“I don’t think Obama is a patriot. He does not want our country to be a superpower,” said Elizabeth Quinlin. “People really need to wake up and realize that we need a change.”

“We just can’t have four more years of Obama,” noted David Quinlin. “You really have to wonder where he is coming from. All he wants to do is blame (President George W. Bush) four years later.”

Barnesville resident Machelle Ryman said she supports Romney and Ryan for their “moral beliefs.”

“My son is also a coal miner at the Century Mine. The current administration is making it very hard on coal miners,” she added.