South Mississippi voters speak their minds

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - By Doug Walker – bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Everywhere you look, you see campaign signs indicating a heated congressional race.  Gene Taylor, a 21 year House veteran, is facing tough competition from Steven Palazzo, a state representative running for Congress for the first time. But what the candidates are saying might be different than what voters are thinking about.

Anne Toups spent Tuesday morning doing some grocery shopping, loading the bags in the back of her SUV.  She knows what's important.

"People have got to get back to work," Toups said. "We've got to find jobs for them. Nothing is going to be moving unless people can get jobs."

With the United States coming out of one of the worst recessions in U.S. history, it's no wonder the economy is the number one issue on the minds of voters. Renee Fairley is among those concerned.

"The economy seems to be the main focus," Fairley said.  "I know here in the Gulf Coast area, we were severely hit by Hurricane Katrina and we're still trying to recover from that. And then along with this major oil spill, it's like an economic disaster down here for us."

Jeannie Stevenson runs a small business in downtown Ocean Springs.  What's number one on her congressional wish list?

"The economy, of course, is number one. And jobs. In this area we are hurting, I think, more so than a lot of other areas right now because of everything that has happened within the last five years, and certainly this summer with the oil spill," Stevenson said.  "Jobs, jobs, jobs. That's what we need."

Between bites of a barbeque sandwich during his lunch break, Chris Beninati offered his thoughts on what Congress needs to do.

"They need to create more jobs," Beninati said. "Build an amusement park or something here on the coast and start putting people to work."

And coast voters can only hope whoever they elect to Congress will work to address those needs.

The other two candidates vying for the 4th Congressional District seat are Libertarian Kenneth "Tim" Hampton and Reform Candidate Anna Jewel Reives.

The election is next Tuesday, November 2. The polls are open from 7am until 7pm .  Of course, WLOX News will have complete election coverage, both on air and online.

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