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Grosse Pointes

November 14, 2012

Candidates, volunteers and voters sound off on election

By K. Michelle Moran
C & G Staff Writer

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Grosse Pointe Farms voter Kelly English lets her son, Ryan English, 10, feed her ballot through the tabulator at Farms City Hall.

GROSSE POINTES — At the end of the night, after all of the ballots have been tabulated, all anyone remembers are the candidates who won their races.

But from the campaign volunteers to the voters, each victory is the result of a massive team effort, whether the participants realize it or not.

Democrats came up big winners in national and local races, and the mood was celebratory at Marge’s Bar in Grosse Pointe Park, where members of the Grosse Pointe Democratic Club cheered as election results were announced on TV.

One of the attendees, Tim Moran of the Park, was especially concerned about the future for his kids, as Washington gridlock has kept certain initiatives that he believes would help from moving forward.

“I think women’s issues are very important,” Moran said of the 2012 election. “And another issue is the flow of money (in the economy). I don’t think trickle-down (economics) has worked in the past, and I don’t think it will work in the future.”

The Democrats likely have dedicated volunteers like 98-year-old David Greenspan of Grosse Pointe Farms to thank for their wins. Despite hearing loss and macular degeneration that has rendered him nearly blind, the almost 50-year precinct delegate was at the local call center every day, and on Election Day, he was passing out literature to voters at Brownell Middle School in his hometown, followed by a couple more hours of making calls to voters, said Harry Kalogerakos, past president of the Grosse Pointe Democratic Club and vice chair of the 13th Congressional District Democratic Organization. Kalogerakos said another volunteer would dial the number and give Greenspan the name of the voter so that he could then talk to that person.

“I thought the country really needed to make sure that the president was re-elected,” said Greenspan in the same clear, strong voice that likely resonated with the people he called. “We’re really at a crossroads. … (President Barack) Obama had many of the same problems that Lincoln had.”

Kalogerakos said the election “validates what the president did” by trying to save the automotive industry and implementing healthcare and credit reform, among other changes.

The mood was more subdued across town at a post-election party for members of the Eastside Republican Club at Trattoria Andiamo in Grosse Pointe Woods, but Woods resident John Hauler — who vied unsuccessfully for the new 14th Congressional District seat, won by incumbent Democrat Gary Peters — remained energized and vowed to run again.

“Our next race, we will win,” said the lifelong automotive die maker, who currently works for a company that sells radios and electronics to the military. “We plan to stay involved in Wayne County.

It was the second Congressional run for Hauler, who ran for the former 13th Congressional District seat in 2010, losing to Democrat Hansen Clarke.

In a speech to attendees, he said America needs to build things, not the economy and middle class of other countries like China.

“This government has failed us,” Hauler said. “Republicans and Democrats that have been there for more than 10 years need to go home.”

Walter Koppy, of Detroit, a member of the ERC’s executive committee, said club members worked hard in the district, distributing about 2,000 Romney-Ryan lawn signs in only four weeks. The Michigan Republican Party Victory Bus Tour even stopped by the club’s volunteer office in St. Clair Shores Nov. 5 — the day before the election — to honor and cheer on the volunteers. Koppy said that visit “was very well-received,” attracting more than 200 visitors despite taking place on a Monday morning when many people were at work.

Marti Miller, of the Woods, a former ERC chair, said she opposed all of the statewide proposals, except the one allowing for an emergency financial manager to be installed in communities and school districts in severe financial distress.

“The proposals were not suited for our constitution,” Miller said. “It would have been to the detriment of our state constitution (for them to be approved).”

Earlier in the day, volunteers and voters were out in force at polling locations throughout the Pointes. Outside of Grosse Pointe Shores City Hall and bundled up against the evening chill, three women campaigned on behalf of three very different causes.

Shores resident Beverly Ballew was encouraging voters to support pro-life candidates. Rebecca Sorensen of Bloomfield Hills had come across town to urge voter support of 3rd Circuit Court judicial candidate Larry Talon, a longtime friend she called “a fair and honest man.” And Shores resident Nora Moroun — wife of Ambassador Bridge CEO Matty Moroun — braved the cold and controversy swirling around a proposal that would have required voter approval for new bridges and tunnels. Her husband’s efforts to block a new span between Detroit and Canada have led to protests and criticism, and Nora Moroun fought tears as she noted that her spouse of more than 40 years has provided employment for many Detroit workers over the last 65 years.

“It’s been hard to be in business in Detroit right now,” she said.

Talon won a seat on the bench, but the bridge proposal failed with voters.

Shores voter Kathleen Wagner was concerned about continued high unemployment, as well as taxes and new national health care reform.

“It is of intense importance that we get this country back in the right direction, which it hasn’t been (going) in for the last four years. … We need a fresh pair of eyes and a fresh mind to think these issues through and to come up with new ways of attacking the problems at hand,” Wagner said.

The economy was also on the mind of Farms voter Albert Socia as he came to his City Hall to cast a ballot.

“I think the economy’s in bad shape,” he said. “Unemployment is so high right now.”

At Farms City Hall, voter Kelly English was sharing a lesson in democracy with her son, Ryan English, 10.

“We want to show our kids the importance of voting and the importance of being American citizens,” she said.

Ryan English said he was concerned about the economy and the need to “create more jobs … especially in Detroit.”

It was a sentiment echoed by another Farms voter, Roy Vorhees, who said the next set of elected leaders “have got to address the deficit.” Like Kelly English, the father of four kids, ages 7-16, was voting in no small part because of them.

“I just have to set a good example for my kids,” Vorhees said.

Voters wanted to make their voices heard at all levels.

“If the competition between the two candidates did nothing more than wake people up and get them to take stock in their country, that’s a good thing,” said Park voter Sadie Bolos O’Neill after casting her ballot at Defer Elementary School. “Better to get up and take a stand than to do nothing.”

You can reach C & G Staff Writer K. Michelle Moran at kmoran@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1047.