In Obama, two places trust

Miguel Paneke at the Coral Gables LibraryPhoto by Steven Elenberg

For immigrants health care counts

A self-identified gay Cuban immigrant, Miguel Paneke waited in line for over three hours on a sunny Miami day, eager to vote at the Coral Gables Library across the street from his apartment complex. He said a key factor motivating his vote for President Barack Obama was “health care, plain and simple. As an actor paying for my own healthcare, Obamacare helps me a great deal financially.”

Paneke, 47, said he generally considers himself an independent.  But in 2008, he said he voted for Obama.

“Both political parties have so many issues within themselves,” said Panake. He had previously voted based on “politician, not political party.”

Paneke waited in line to cast his vote with his life partner, Luis Hechavarria, who said he would also vote for Obama.

Hechavarria, 48, is an administrative assistant to the college registrar for Miami-Dade College and, like Paneke, he is a Cuban immigrant.  “Obama only had four years to clean up Bush’s mess and I think his plans for the future show a lot of promise.  He will turn this economy around and he will keep improving our health care system,” Hechavarria said.

He  said that “Romney is an economist, not a president.  Let him work in the treasury department.”  Hechavarria claimed that both he and his partner Paneke immigrated to this country for the “American dream” and in the time since they have lived in Miami, they have had “rough times.”

Despite their rough times, Hechavarria and Paneke displayed  nothing but smiles while waiting to cast their ballots.  When asked why they were so excited to vote, Paneke replied,  “Today is a huge day for the economy, for the country, and for us.  In Obama we trust. Four more years will keep our country moving forward and out of these rough times.”

More like this: Coral Gables | Election - Miami

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