‘We can’t do anything but good by these candidates’ | NevadaAppeal.com

‘We can’t do anything but good by these candidates’

Jarid Shipley
Appeal Staff Writer

Nine-year-old Robert Avilla said he was excited about getting to attend the Democratic Presidential Forum. He just didn’t know why.

Avilla came from Lovelock with his grandmother, Linda, to participate in the forum at the Carson City Community Center on Wednesday afternoon.

“I brought him because this is a special moment,” she said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event, and when he’s older he can tell people he was here.”

Avilla, a correctional officer in Lovelock, said her biggest concern is about providing health care to her parents.

“That’s my No. 1 issue. No. 2 would be Iraq. I don’t want them to pull out, but we need to do something,” she said.

Robert chose to wear his scout uniform as part of his service badge, but the uniform didn’t go unnoticed. While he was eating lunch, Robert got to meet Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., who was drawn to Robert’s Boy Scout uniform and wanted to meet him.

Robert later said he liked U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and wanted to ask her what it would feel like if she becomes president.

Waiting to get into the auditorium, Chad Trexler, 18, Susie Trexler, 18, and Rachel Miller, 17, all of Reno, said they wanted to come because this will be the first presidential election in which they can vote.

“I haven’t made up my mind yet, and I want to be informed,” Miller said. “For me, education is an important issue. We need a policy to fix No Child Left Behind because it has a lot of problems.”

Chad Trexler said he hoped the candidates would focus on more than just the conflicts overseas.

“Everyone is talking about the war in Iraq, but there are other issues,” Chad Trexler said. “My concern is global warming and what they are going to do to fix it.”

All three said one of the reasons they came was for the chance to see a potential leader of the free world.

“I think this is a great thing for Nevada. We are due to play an important role in an election,” Miller said.

After the forum, Robbi Phillips and Marcus Cast, both of Elko, said it helped them decide which candidates to investigate further.

“I’m leaning towards Bill Richardson, but this early I didn’t really have a plan about who I’m voting for,” Phillips said. “I definitely think that having Nevada be more of a player in choosing our president is a good thing.”

The forum also had an impact on Kathy Elliott of Carson City, who said that her first choice didn’t change, but her other preferences did.

“Hillary is still my number one, but the New Mexico governor has become my No. 2. I think he speaks very well and has some good ideas,” Elliott said. “It was nice to sit and hear solutions, not just complaints.”

Kathy Hawkins, of Yerington, said the biggest thing she took from the forum was the strong field of democratic candidates.

“We can’t do anything but good by these candidates. They are all good and honorable people who will represent the country well,” Hawkins said.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.