HOOKSETT, N.H. (Jan. 10, 2012) — Voters rose and shined in Southern New Hampshire to cast early-morning ballots in the the first-in-the-nation primary.
In Hooksett, Damian Perron, 9, marched proudly into a polling center at Cawley Middle School with his mother, Carmen Perron, 46. Damian is in the fourth grade and came with his mom to learn how to vote. “I like coming to see the sheet,” he said.
He helps filling in the bubbles on the ballot, his mother added. “Every time I vote, he comes with me,” said Perron, who works in the registrar’s office at a local university. She is motivated, she said by “the importance of teaching of him how to vote and the importance of getting the right candidate in office.”
In nearby Derry at Calvary Bible School, Gerard Daigle squeezed a visit to the polls into his busy day. His motivation? “I believe in America,” he said. He’s a veteran, he said. He added, “I love my country.” Daigle owns a plumbing and heating company. As a small business owner, he said, he voted for Newt Gingrich. Gingrich, he said, is the candidate who’ll allow small businesses like his to flourish.
Also at the Calvary Bible School polling place, Teejay Christopher, who once lived in North Syracuse, reveled in the political culture of New Hampshire. She’s lived in Derry for 15 years. Now, she said, the political bug is in her blood. “When the area you live in is so immersed,” she said, “you are heavily influenced by politics and it encourages you to vote.”
Christopher lived in North Syracuse when she was stationed at Hancock Air National Guard Base. Christopher lived in North Syracuse when she was stationed at the Marine Reserve Center.
The economy, she said, is her biggest concern—which is why she voted for Jon Huntsman, who was also U.S. ambassador to China. “He has a good understanding of the world economy, especially with his China background,” she said.
Joe Robertson, 67, escorted his mother, Barbara Robertson, 94, out of the Calvary Bible School polling center. Voting was a stop on the day’s errands. “It’s Tuesday—shopping day—so that’s where we’re headed next,” he said.
But for the duo, voting was more than just another errand. “If you’re going to be a citizen,” Barbara Robertson said, “you’ve got to do your thing!”
(Elizabeth Carey, a graduate student in the magazine, newspaper and online journalism program at Syracuse University, is reporting for the Utica Observer-Dispatch.)