With the presidential candidates for the two major parties battling it out, and a handful of measures vying for our approval this November, EGP is roving our coverage area to find out what kind issues really matter to local voters.
Lea esta nota EN ESPAÑOL: Charlas de la Elección: Edition de Commerce 
This week we visited Rosewood Park in Commerce, home of just over 12,000 residents, 1,500 industrial businesses and the stomping grounds of more than a few Olympians, including recent gold medalist Brenda Villa.
Though many of those who spoke to EGP said they feel national politics figure very little into their lives, each of them was still intimately familiar and passionate about one issue or another affecting them, whether it was education, the economy, healthcare or immigration.
What they had to say:
Veronica Torres, 38, of Commerce, who was out walking her dog at the park, said she is concerned that resources that could be going to her son’s education could be used instead on people entering the country illegally. “I think citizens are getting the short end of the stick, while illegals get funded,” she said. Also worried about gun control policies, Torres said she does not want “our right to bear arms” to be taken away. She has not decided whom to vote for but it’s “definitely not Obama.”
Maria Gonzales, 50, also of Commerce, was making progress on a Spanish translation of the bestselling “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” thriller trilogy, the subject of an upcoming reading club discussion at the local library book club, she is concerned about healthcare costs. “They need to give healthcare to all employees, including part-time… sometimes when you go to a private doctor, you pay $60-$80 for the appointment, but if you need treatment, it’s going to get expensive. Most families these days are living day to day and don’t have money left to pay for healthcare. Gonzalez said she was told to call daily to get an appointment at a county clinic and finally got one after a year of trying.
Nick Terrazas, 50, of Commerce, was escaping the indoor heat and enjoying the outdoor breeze. Unemployment is one of his concerns: “It’s hard to find a job these days. We’re overcrowded… I don’t think there’s enough jobs to go around,” he said. At the local level, he wants more traffic enforcement. “Another problem as far as the city goes is we need more [sheriff] patrols, speed bumps. Cars race by fast.”
In November, Commerce residents will vote on Measure AA, a proposal to raise the local sales tax by a half-cent. Torres would vote for it, but with some conditions: “If it’s going to be used for a good cause, I’m for it. If it’s for fixing up the city or roads… air quality is a big issue. It’s very polluted. I would rather see them use that money to fix the pollution.”
Free Son, 33, of Cerritos was in Commerce to watch a friend’s dad play in the local baseball league game. “I’m not keeping up with the elections… how do you reach people who are preoccupied? When Barack Obama was elected we were on the precipice of a recession. We started wondering, where’s all the money going? Have I noticed a change in the last four years? A small bit.”
Rodney Higginson, 42, of Bell is looking to get back into school, and also has a child attending elementary school. “Education is always important. College is getting expensive for the middle class every year. Rising tuition fees, that’s a concern. I was reading in the newspaper, the concern of Wall Street after the housing market bubble burst, is a student loan bubble.”
You can add your voice to this discussion by posting a comment below.