Support the news

In The 10th District, Some Want Change While Others Vote To Stay The Course

WBUR's Morning Edition is broadcasting Monday in the bellwether town of Plymouth as we talk about the governor's race. But we're also here because Plymouth is in the 10th Congressional District, the site of the most closely watched congressional race in the state this year.

Republican Jeff Perry and Democrat Bill Keating are in a very tight race to replace retiring Democrat Bill Delahunt.

Like a lot of races around the state — and country — many voters here say they want change, and not the kind President Obama ran on two years ago.

As the economy continues to lag, voters are questioning if the politicians in Washington have their best interests at heart.

We wanted to dig into those anxieties here in Plymouth, so WBUR's Bob Oakes spent some time with what you might call a "typical middle class family" and a small business owner.


The Betz family, from left: Debra, Stephen, Stewart, and Spencer chat with WBUR's Bob Oakes around their kitchen table. (Dominick Reuter for WBUR)
The Betz family, from left: Debra, Stephen, Stewart, and Spencer chat with WBUR's Bob Oakes around their kitchen table. (Dominick Reuter for WBUR)

Steve and Debra Betz are married with two sons. When we spoke, they told me they're voting Republican in this year's elections because they want a change.

"We're just an average family here in Plymouth, we have a roof over our heads, we have food in the fridge, but I see that there are a lot of people that are a lot worse off than we are, and that kind of makes me anxious because I don't want to see people going through hard times," Debra Betz said.

"For me, I'm lucky. State Street went through a large amount of layoffs. I was luck enough to make it through three rounds of layoffs," Steve Betz said.

"At the same time, now that everything's starting to recover, it isn't a matter of hiring people back, it's more consolidation.

Betz said the pay increases don't match up to the amount of work he does in his position.

"So for the kind of pay that I'm getting, I'm still putting in a lot more work than I would have, say, five years ago," he said. "I don't see how we're supposed to survive and 'tighten our belts,' all of our executives tell us to tighten our belts, and those of us who are in the trenches doing the work, we can't tighten our belts anymore."

At the same time, the lights are on over the dining room table, the heat will be on during the winter, the groceries are still coming in, they still have to pay all the bills everyone else pays that are always going up.

"It just means that there are times where, if we want to do the extra things, we're just not able to do them. But we're still optimistic, and we still have a lot of fun, there's a lot of fun things that you can do without money."

As the economy continues to lag, voters are questioning if the politicians in Washington have their best interests at heart.

In this election there are a lot of people in Massachusetts, and probably more nationally, who are being driven in their decision making by anxiety and fear.

Debra Betz said she'd like to see more information about what Congress is doing, while her husband stresses the importance of elected officials working together instead of playing the blame game.

"That's what this country is based on, it's based on differing opinions, but I would like to see these new candidates that are coming in still have these opinions but get things done," he said.

But as far as voting for "change," other voters here say, stay the course.

Maureen Idehen owns a boutique in downtown Plymouth. As the number of tourists visiting Plymouth dwindled, Idehen admits this past year has been tough — her sales have fallen by one-third. (Kirk Carapezza for WBUR)
Maureen Idehen owns a boutique in downtown Plymouth. As the number of tourists visiting Plymouth dwindled, Idehen admits this past year has been tough — her sales have fallen by one-third. (Kirk Carapezza for WBUR)

Maureen Idehen is one of them. She’s a small business owner in Plymouth who runs an African spa and boutique. A registered pharmacist, Idehen used to work at CVS, but she decided in the middle of the recession to launch her own business and is voting for Gov. Patrick.

When Oakes spoke at her spa, she said she’s feeling the pinch of the recession. Her sales are off by one-third.

"But now I’m optimistic for Massachusetts. If what they say is true, and apparently it is, that we are number one in the nation for job recovery, then I’m optimistic for health care, I’m happy about that for education. I think we’re on a good trajectory," Idehen said.

"I think if we don’t rock the boat, my perception, I see us coming up now. I am nervous about somebody else coming in and rocking that because I see the confidence in the people now for the long haul."

This program aired on November 1, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

+Join the discussion
TwitterfacebookEmail

Support the news