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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

In Osceola's battleground territory, voters arrive in steady stream

6

November

Edison Rosendo arrived at the Kissimmee polling place across the street from his apartment complex with a thick book in hand, ready for the long wait.

Instead, the Barry University law school graduate was in and out of the Robert Guevara Community Center in 15 minutes as a steady stream of voters cast their ballots with barely a wait. 

"I voted for Barack Obama, even though I'm unemployed,'' said Rosendo, 27, who is registered with no party affiliation. He has been looking for work since he passed the bar in June, he said, but he voted for Obama because, after researching Romney's agenda, he concluded "he wants to block everything Obama has done and I feel that is not a good way to govern."

Osceola County is the heart of the state's swing region, where the burgeoning Puerto Rican population has converted cow pastures into subdivisions and a one-time stronghold for conservative Republicans into new terrain for conservative Democrats.

Romney, however, has been competitive here as the region's struggles like the rest of the state with stifled employment, even in the backyard of Disney.

"I voted for Romney because Obama has his chance,'' said Denise Calero, 44, an unemployed single mom who was laid off as an inspector at the nearby Lockheed Martin plant a year and a half ago. She and her extended family, all from Puerto Rico, feel the same she said. "The same chance Obama had, Romney should have."

Vilma Figueroa, 54, was voting for the first time in Florida since she moved to Kissimmee a year ago. She arrived at the polls with her father, Conception Figueroa, 81, who has been voting in this country since he moved to New York in 1952. 

"For me, Obama looks more human,'' Figueroa said. "I like him better."

 

[Last modified: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 6:33pm]

    

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