'Swing County' in Wisconsin to Vote Republican This Year

| by

Citizens of Winnebago County in Wisconsin are hesitant to vote for Obama in this coming election. According to NPR, the county last year was largely made of Obama voters, but this year, things have changed. 

Many are fearful of the "handouts" people are receiving from the government, and cite fears that the government has gotten "too big." From farmers to restaurant owners, the consensus seems to be the same: Mitt Romney for the win. 

Judith Koeppl, an owner of a food stand at the Winnebago County Fair, said she is angered by those who go to the government for handouts. The 70-year-old said, "I've been doing this since I was 21. My first paying job was when I was 10. I had permanent beer stands at State Fair Park for 38 years. I call this my semi-retirement now." 

Having worked hard her whole life, she has a few secrets to running a successful business as a single woman: "love of family, having pride, not going to the system for a handout." 

She blames the Obama administration for the amount of people receiving handouts. "I don't like seeing our country become a socialistic country," she said. "And I think that's where it's headed for right now." 

Koeppl is one of many who believe the government has tried to do too much during Obama's presidency. 

While the government has failed to solve problems for many Winnebago County citizens, it has helped others. 

Farmer Charlie Kniggie said he is enrolled in government programs to receive farm subsidies. "We don't get a lot of government support, we get some," he said. 

But Kniggie shared some opinions with Koeppl about how the government has failed.

"I'm not a big fan of how big the government's gotten or how many people are living off the government now," he said. "And I understand people have hardships with the economy and everything else, but, to me, it's - pretty soon, we've got to stand on our own feet and get up and get moving and not rely on somebody else helping us with that."

He also emphasized that America was founded on "people getting up and going and making their own living and their own lifestyle." He's scared that we have "gotten too far away from that."

Kniggie sees welfare and unemployment as a way to get on one's feet, to help out until the next job is found. 

"But I've got some friends in other industries that they're looking at hiring minimum wage or little better than that for just parking cars or working at a fast-food restaurant. But they're making more money being on welfare than they would if they get a $10-, $12-an hour job," he said. 

Opinions were the same for other people working in the food industry. Patricia and Steven Cumber, owners of a food truck, said they plan to vote for Mitt Romney. 

Their lives have only gotten harder during the past few years. Patricia quit her job at a local manufacturing company to start the truck, but around the same time, Steven was fired from his job as a welder. His unemployment ran out, and now they survive only on the money gained from their food truck.

One thing Patricia and Steven were unsure about was the health insurance debate. Steven doesn't have health insurance at the moment. If he ends up getting sick, Patricia will have to pay for it.

"I have to pay my way to live, don't I? Right? Because nobody else is taking care of that," she said. 

While Steven said Americans should have the "right to take and say who we want, where we want it, and how we want it," they both agree on the unsettling feeling having no health insurance presents. 

Their fears, however, aren't enough to persuade them to vote for Obama. 

For Patricia and many other Winnebago County residents, the mistrust of the current government greatly outweighs the benefits of health insurance.