Friday, October 31, 2014


Allison McLean, children's librarian, Mishawaka (Mark Shephard)

Michael Smith, temporary employee, Elkhart (Mark Shephard)

Jack Paulen, financial planner, Elkhart (Mark Shephard)

Tony Martinez, library clerk, Elkhartr constitution. (Mark Shephard)

Jane Burns, art museum director, Elkhart (Mark Shephard)
What issues should be addressed in Obama’s speech?

Posted on Jan. 19, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.

This week, correspondent Mark Shephard asked people in Elkhart, “What do you hope to hear President Obama address during his second inaugural speech?”

Jack Paulen, financial planner, Elkhart:

“In a dysfunctional Congress, I would like to see him approach a middle group in the Congress who might be able to work together in a spirit of bipartisanship, which we certainly haven’t seen for four years. I would hope that he would have an opportunity to tackle our debt and deficit and actually look at entitlements to try to make some significant changes for the betterment of our country.”

Allison McLean, children’s librarian, Mishawaka:

“I guess I would like to hear him talk about the economic recovery and how that’s going, and what he sees the next four years are going to look like as far as the economy. Education is an important topic to me, as well. I know gun control is really hot right now, so I kind of expect him to talk about that, but that’s not my top priority. I just want to make sure that we are doing our best to compete with other countries, because I know our school system currently is not doing as well. And what we can do to measure up especially in math and science, and making sure we’re hiring and drawing new teachers into the field that are going to be really good teachers.”

Tony Martinez, library clerk, Elkhart:

“The hot topic right now is gun control, of course. I definitely expect him to touch on that. Also, I’m not sure if he’ll address the debt ceiling, but definitely gun control.” Follow-up: And how do you feel about the issue? “I don’t own a gun. I’m pretty neutral. I would say for me, it’s pretty hard to pick a side. I can’t seem to pick a side. I can see why you would want to have a gun in case of protection. I feel like there’s different ways of going about reducing gun violence than to take away guns, or grossly taking our rights away.”

Michael Smith, temporary employee, Elkhart:

“The economy — you know, try to pick up more jobs, because there’s people out here struggling right now, so that’s what I would like to see.” Follow-up: Do you think it has gotten better in the last four years, and what do you think it’s going to take to get more jobs? “It has got a little better, but not where it should be. I think it could be a little bit better. I think it’s more like a commitment thing. I don’t know if it has to do with taxes or what. Maybe they have to lower taxes for businesses. That’s what I would think. I’m struggling myself to find a job and trying to get back on my feet for the stuff that I have to pay. It’s just rough.”

Jane Burns, art museum director, Elkhart:

“Bringing home the troops from Afghanistan. I think he’s working on the economy, but I am very concerned about bringing our troops home.” Follow-up: The war on terrorism could go on forever. Do you think we’ve learned from spending all the money we have on two wars in the last 10 years? “Well, I’m not sure how much it did for terrorism because I think certainly Afghanistan, and Iraq too, are tribal countries, and while we went over there for terrorism and for democracy, I’m not sure we did anything on democracy because they are tribal, but certainly I think it helped with the terrorism a little bit. I think our wars are more draining on our economy than anything that has been said, and I am concerned about unemployment, and I am concerned about Congress not working together, but I do know that our you men and women are being killed in wars that I’m not sure there is a solution to.”