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Pa. candidates take five with voters in Quincy

October 31, 2006|by KATE S. ALEXANDER

QUINCY, Pa. - While Richard Shook spent Monday evening listening to candidates make promises and plead for his vote, little of what was said will make him darken a different circle during the general election on Nov. 7.

"I've had my mind made up for a while," he said.

Not everyone who attended the Meet the Candidates evening at Quincy Village shared Shook's confidence.

After listening to the speeches and questioning the candidates, local teacher Jeff Rhodes was still undecided.

"Have I ever not been open-minded?" he quipped. "No, I have no idea who I am going to vote for."

Regardless of how people vote next week, Margaret Thompson, village activities coordinator for Quincy Village, said the evening was designed to educate the public so no one goes to the polls uninformed.

"We have a lot of residents from other states and the names mean nothing to them," she said.

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About 60 people gathered at Quincy Village Monday, where they mingled with candidates Bill Shuster, Patrick Fleagle, Todd Rock and Tony Barr, listened to brief speeches and then had the chance to ask the candidates questions directly.

Thompson said there were two rules for the evening: Candidates could only address the audience for five minutes and no one could mention their opponent. Those who did, she said, would forfeit the remainder of their time.

Both the audience and the candidate preferred the positive format.

"I was pleased they kept the negative out of it," Patricia Yetter said.

"Mudslinging brings politics to the lowest level," said Rock, who's running against Fleagle for the 90th District House of Representatives seat. "That is why people avoid being involved in politics."

For Quincy Village residents, Thompson said this is the first chance many had to hear the campaign issues.

"Candidates are not permitted to campaign at Quincy Village, so we invite them once every election year," she said.

All four candidates are in their last week of campaigning and said they plan to squeeze as much one-on-one campaigning in this last week as possible.

"I'll stick to the plan and talk to people," said incumbent state Rep. Fleagle, R-Franklin.

"I am going to talk to as many people as I can," said Barr, the Democratic challenger to Shuster in the U.S. House race.

"I have already knocked on 10,000 doors," Rock said. "I am low on energy, low on gas, but I have one more Saturday to go."

"I am going to just work harder," incumbent U.S. Rep. Shuster, R-Pa., said.

Thompson said she was pleased that both candidates for U.S. House and Pennsylvania House could come, adding, "It worked out well."

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