GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - A group of undecided Republican and Independent voters gatheredThursday evening to watch the WOOD TV8 debate between the GOPcontenders for governor.
The watchers were Joe Pohlen, a recent GVSU graduate; DickOrtega, who considers himself an Independent and owns AlternativeMechanical and Alternative Medical Supplies in Grand Rapids; RonFalk, who owns a computer training business; Rachel Lee, JerryBishop, Eleanor Nielson and Sarah Julien Gierz.
The panelists left the building still undecided, but on a morefocused path to selecting a candidate.
The most surprising candidate to the panel was State Sen. TomGeorge, R-Kalamazoo. The participants felt they learned the mostabout him through the debate.
He was called "matter of fact" and direct.
"He wants to reform Medicaid (and) government assistance --that's a big thing," Gierz said.
The other GOP candidates who attended are state Attorney GeneralMike Cox, Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard and Congressman PeteHoekstra, R-Holland.
With several entrepreneurs in the group, taxes on small businesswas a very important issue.
Falk keyed in to what candidates had to say on the matter, as hechose to start a computer training business in West Michigan.
"I'm picking a state that's very tough to do that in, and Ithink Bouchard, Hoekstra offered the ideas and suggestions ofgovernment getting out of our way so we can do that," Falksaid.
Lee wanted to hear candidates discuss Asian carp in the GreatLakes, and she got that opportunity. But the answers, she said,left something to be desired.
"What they should be talking about now is what they shouldsuggest from our government system to handle it, because byNovember, it's going to be too late," Lee said.
Others wanted more information on subjects that are important tothem.
Nielson is concerned with how the state will deal with agingbaby boomers. Bishop would have liked to hear more on what hecalled "urban issues" such as justice system reform and per-personfunding in education.
"I had four candidates that didn't deal with any of the issues Iface every single day that are some of the most critical in GrandRapids," Bishop said.
Several panelists mentioned they were very disappointed to nothear from the fifth candidate businessman Rick Snyder. Many hadfamiliarized themselves with Snyder through his website and werelooking forward to hearing him speak.
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