Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2008 | 3:08 a.m.
Question on the Street
Barack Obama may have won over Nevadans and the rest of the country, but the reasons voters selected him varied from wanting social change to taking signs from above.
Las Vegas resident Jesse Roa, 60, said the entire Calvary Chapel Spring Valley Church was praying for an Obama win.
“We believe in the church that God sent him because America is the best country in the world -- everybody follows America,” Roa said. “God wants America to know color does not matter, it’s the heart that matters.”
Roa is from Manila, Philippines, and couldn’t vote in the election because he is in the process of becoming a U.S. citizen. His comments came shortly after Obama addressed the nation with a new title: president-elect.
Another Obama supporter, 26-year-old Key Olasupo, said he was cautiously optimistic about the next four years as he watched the election results outside of Yard House at Town Square.
“This is a beaming light to show that America has moved well beyond any sign of segregation or racism or any kind of tones, if you want to make it about race,” he said. “In regards to his beliefs, as a candidate or as the president, it’s just a different direction.”
Across the street from UNLV, a group of students stood outside of the Freakin' Frog, where they celebrated the announcement of Obama's win with shots of tequila and whiskey. The hope that Obama can help ease the burden that the state's steep budget cuts have placed on education is one reason the students voted for him.
"Right now tuition is going to double at my school," said Rita Majoros, 21, an English major who attends the West Charleston campus of College of Southern Nevada. Majoros said big "rest in peace" signs can be found throughout her school because it's almost impossible for students to get the classes they need. She said she hopes relief is on the way.
Although excited about the new president-elect, Nik Kohler, a 23-year-old UNLV architecture and art student, said he doesn't expect a lot of change within the next year because Obama will have to deal with issues left behind from the current administration.
He said he expects progress will be made halfway through Obama's first term, especially in the area of health care.
"He's talked about (health insurance) so much that I would probably be really disappointed if we don't see some incentives for people who are below the income line that he's been talking about," Kohler said.
Four people sat around a table inside Fadó Irish Pub, 9470 S Eastern Ave., discussing why half of them voted for Obama and the other half voted for McCain -- and none of them were overly excited about the election.
Trisha Milton, 31, of Las Vegas, said she is “scared” of Obama’s win. Although she wasn't a strong supporter of McCain, she voted for him because she said she felt he was the lesser of two evils and feared that Obama wouldn't support the military.
"I am very pro-military," Milton said. "My father is a veteran of three wars so I will never vote for somebody I feel would cut our military or hurt our military."
Ben Parish, 31, of Las Vegas, said although he voted for Obama, people generally put too much weight on the presidency since many others are involved in policy changes.
"What concerns me more is one party controlling two-thirds of the government and can push things through without much debate or exchange, and there's a lot of 'what's good for my party' instead of 'what's good for my country,’" Parish said.
Celebrating at Fado was UNLV secondary education major John Meyer, who said he was excited that an African-American will be in office because it shows the country is moving forward. For the past year, the Henderson resident has been going door-to-door and making phone calls for the Obama campaign, but he wasn’t anti-McCain.
“I didn’t want a Republican in office. McCain is a good guy, but there are some things like the offshore drilling that I really didn’t like and that was one of his policies and I’m more of a science guy, so I’m more for the environment.”
Although the feelings around Las Vegas were mixed, it seems almost everyone was ready for a change.