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Quotes from Floridians Along Highway 27

March 7, 1996

Some observations on presidential politics and the state of the union from Floridians who live and work along U.S. Highway 27:

``You’ve got to have two jobs and a hustle, just to make it work.″ _ Arthur Richardson, who helps his aunt run a Medicaid transportation service in tiny Havana, just south of the Georgia-Florida border.

``It would make me feel a little better about the president if he would work with us for a day or two, see what it’s like.″ _ Mike Gallagher, 42, of Lakeland during a break from shoeing horses before a thoroughbred horse show at the Golden Hills stables just north of Ocala.

``I quit voting when my man, George Wallace, lost. I always liked the Democrats, but it’s time for a change.″ _ Arch Chester, a retired mechanic in Havana, who grew up in the tradition of conservative Southern Democrats but whose allegiance was cut adrift by the late 1960s.

``The next old people are the baby boomers. You think they want their Medicare cut? People are realizing now what Republicans balancing the budget means. The middle class is fooling themselves. Most of them are just one or two paychecks away from needing the government. They just don’t realize it. It’s time for them to wake up.″ _ J. Davis, a mechanical contractor in Belle Glade.

``Bob Dole and Newt Gingrich don’t care. While both sides are giving us a snow job on the budget cuts, I think Clinton is more for the people.″ _ Connie Whidden, health director for the Brighton Seminole reservation, a few miles off the highway and north of Lake Okeechobee.

``Don’t tell me you didn’t inhale.″ _ mill worker Donnie Pridgen of Perry, talking about President Clinton’s credibility problems and his famous 1992 quote about his brief experience with marijuana.

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