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Pittsburgh Voters Consider Healthcare and Immigration As They Cast Ballots

By Taylor Mals, Point Park News Service

Signs outside of the Epiphany Church. Photo by Taylor Mals.

At 10:30 a.m. at the Epiphany Catholic Church located next to PPG Paints Arena, a small congregation of young voters huddled in the parking lot, with older adults scattered throughout.

“Pennsylvania is a pretty good representation of what this country is going through,” said 21-year-old Baltimore native and student Sarah Gibson.

Gibson and fellow student Ellie Ferrara, 21, from Buffalo, N.Y., are both Democrats. Both said that they found issues with the current national healthcare system.

Ferrara said she thinks “healthcare is really important, and it should be a right for everybody.” Gibson pointed out that, as a nursing student, she is also interested in making healthcare attainable and affordable for everyone.

The two sounded off on national immigration issues. Gibson, pointing out a sense of hypocrisy in national immigration policy.

“We should make it easier for people who are seeking asylum to be able to come into this country. That’s how most of our ancestors came into our country, if not all of them, unless you’re Native American,” Gibson said.

Ferrara mirrored those feelings, further noting that “the way our government is currently treating immigrants is horrible, so that’s something that needs to change.”

Retired Pittsburgh native Mary Lou Mlecko, 70, had other ideas to say about the topics of national health care and immigration, pointing out that the issues actually tie into each other.

On the topic of Mexican immigrants specifically, Mlecko stated that she is “concerned about diseases being brought into the country. Nobody talks about that. There seems to be a need for a labor force, but there should be some kind of regulations and certainly a health check.”

Both voters young and old were interested in a local referendum for Allegheny County on the ballot. This states that starting on the first of next year, $25 of each $100,000 of taxable real estate will be used to improve students’ education and well-being in the county.

Adam Flagella, 21, from Savannah, Ga., expressed approval for the referendum.

“I don’t think education is where it should be for students growing up in Pennsylvania right now,” he remarked.

Mlecko had questions about the issue at hand. “Who is managing the money right now that that money can’t be allotted?” she asked in regards to funding for public school students.

Aside from Mlecko, who said that President Donald Trump’s actions did not play into her voting decision, there was a resounding disapproval of Trump that led voters to come to the Epiphany Church today.

Kenton Patterson, a 52-year-old Pittsburgh native and yearly poll worker, expressed the widely-agreed-upon opinion bluntly: “I can’t stand Trump, I don’t even want to talk about it.”

This story is posted as part of our Midterm 2018 Election Coverage.

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