State of your Union

Area residents speak out.
Tuesday, January 20, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 2:03 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 17, 2008

In anticipation of President Bush’s speech to the nation tonight, Columbia-area residents were asked Monday to describe what state their union is in. From the conflict in Iraq to the U.S. economy, here is what some of you said:

“I’m not happy with the state of the union. I feel that a lot of money is being spent on defense and the war in Iraq, and there are problems at home that need to be fixed.”

— Ardith Benfer, 38, teacher

“Health care is in, I would say, an abominable state. I am thoroughly convinced that anything that the current government comes up with is going to be detrimental to the elderly and is going to benefit primarily insurance companies and drug manufacturers. I feel that President Bush has done basically a reasonable job with what he has had to work with, but I think that other people would have done things a whole lot better.”

— Barbara Julius, retired

“I think everything is too spread out right now. They try to do one good program, then that sucks the money out of everything. They aren’t properly maintaining funds.”

— Jason Crowley, 21, metal worker

“I would like him to talk about curbing immigration and reducing welfare. I think more people should work. I think we are doing a lot better than four years ago.”

— Alan Martin, 37, self-employed, Hallsville

“I think it’s a terrible mess. I think it was a stupid thing to go into Iraq without our allies. Unemployment is still disastrous. The Medicare Reform Bill is basically going to erode Medicare.”

— Russell Jones, 72, retired

“The immigration policy about giving health care to illegal aliens is a bunch of crap. Health care is always a big issue, but now we want to give it away to noncitizens. What’s up with that? American citizens deserve health care.”

— Rick Belzerrick, 40, pipe fitter

“I would like to see him address his policies regarding illegal immigrants, what he is planning for health care, the future for Iraq and what type of policies he has for handing Iraq over to the people.”

— Timothy Welker, 23, window cleaner, Fulton

“I have a brother and a father who are fighting over there right now, so I definitely support what we are doing over there. I don’t think we do enough here at home. We go to other countries to help, but we need to do a better job here at home.”

— Terry Tatum, 38, prep cook

“I think the country seems to be doing well. He should address military funds and the space program.”

— Matt Mehmert, 34, carpenter

“He is not addressing what he said he would when he was trying to get elected before, especially with senior citizens.”

— David Kuda, 61, in construction, Mexico, Mo.

“I am dissatisfied with the state of our country. I see too many people without and a lot of people in poverty. I think the majority of people in government are lying, and we have to sit back and take it because those people are elected. I see so much corruption, it makes me not want to vote, although I know I must as a good citizen.”

— Leslie O’ Brien, 40, disabled worker from Center

“I’m looking forward to the speech. I think the economy will be discussed quite a bit, and I think the continued situation in Iraq and the terrorist situation will be discussed a lot.”

— Eric Stratton, 54, self-employed

“I think the state of the union is in poor shape. I think Bush has done a disservice to all of us with his wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. And the economy is worse than it was during the Clinton administration.”

— Lynn Schulte, 61, professional counselor, Jefferson City

“I would like to see him do more about child care. There are so many single-parent families, yet nothing is done concerning them.”

— Felicia Mitchell, 34, child care worker

“I’m not satisfied with what Bush did, but then again, he did catch Saddam Hussein. But then again, it is another country, so I think they should have their own views and issues if we’re going to get along.”

— Latrice Al-Ramahi, 21, convenience store clerk

“I think we will hear that (the state of the union) is better than it actually is, even though the economy is on the rebound. I think big-money jobs have left and there’s more low-paying, entry-level type jobs, service-related. I think the recession is over, but people still don’t have as much discretionary money as they had before. I’m hoping that he addresses the loss of high-paying jobs to other countries.”

— Phil Chase, 42, restaurant manager

“I hope that he brings up the space initiative — very important — ways to get out of Iraq, and the economy. All big issues.”

— David Humphreys, 40, customer service representative

“I think the state of the union is getting better. I think it is a positive for President Bush because the economy is starting to pick up. I know that all I have seen in the news lately is the stuff going on in Iowa, the Democratic caucus. I hope that doesn’t overshadow his speech. But I think things are getting better.”

— Britta Wright, 34, higher education

Missourian staff writers C.J. Campeau, Marlys Chambers, Elizabeth Conner and Masae Kato contributed to this article.

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