Hometown disaster prompts Obama vote

Quick federal response to hurricane moves student

Squinting in the bright Miami sun, New Jersey native Patrick O’Shea, 19, eagerly cast his first presidential vote in Coral Gables for Barack Obama. The hurricane horror scene in his hometown of Toms River, NJ, was the deciding factor for O’Shea, who said it was the “one thing on my mind.”

As he stood in line to vote, a visibly distressed O’Shea stood told stories of the devastation that Hurricane Sandy had brought to his hometown.

“My neighbors’ homes were underwater. The town was eradicated,” he said.

For O’Shea, the storm was a call to action – the deciding factor in a long battle with indecision. He said he cast his ballot to re-elect President Obama, citing his own new sense of urgency with respect to climate change.

O’Shea, a geology major, was disappointed that climate change did not receive much attention during the presidential campaign. However, he said he was impressed with Obama’s prompt relief efforts during the final stretch of the campaign. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a prominent Republican, has also praised Obama for his attentiveness and concern for Sandy’s victims. “It’s not easy to get Chris Christie to see past political blinders,” said O’Shea.

With so much focus on the economy, environmentally-motivated voters like O’Shea appear to be a small minority. But O’Shea said Floridians ought to be among the most concerned in the country about the rising of the oceans. “If ocean levels rise by 4 feet, Florida is underwater,” O’Shea noted.

More like this: Coral Gables | Election - Miami

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2 responses to “Hometown disaster prompts Obama vote”

  1. D Bensinger says:

    You did a good job here tying the environment to the election when it was not a part of the candidate narrative up to this point. Focusing the story on someone affected by Sandy gives the story another sort of value that comes across very positive. Nicely done.

  2. Samantha Nasti says:

    My family, living in Rumson, NJ (we’re neighbors, O’Shea!) lost everything after Hurricane Sandy and I was also extremely disappointed that especially after such a devastating event, although relief efforts were formed and we’re very appreciative, little mind was paid to the issue of climate change itself during the election. The way Obama and Christie worked together right after the destruction was inspirational and, in my opinion, proved the president knows how to step up in crucial situations.