BGSU student glad to vote in her first Ohio electionWritten by Brandi Barhite | Community Ombudsman | firstname.lastname@example.org
Veronica Garcia-Michael finally feels like her vote will matter.
Garcia-Michael moved from South Texas to BGSU in August 2007 to earn her doctorate in communications with an emphasis in mass media.
The first thing she did was register to vote.
When she told her students at the University of Texas-Pan American, she was leaving, she did so with glee. “I am going to a swing state,” she said.
“In Texas, honestly, it doesn’t really matter. Texas always goes Republican,” the 30-year-old said.
She cannot believe all the attention Ohio gets from the candidates: the visits, the commercials, the mailings. She supports Barack Obama, something her Cuban-American family doesn’t like.
“I want to go see them,” she said of the candidates, “but I always have to work or I have school. People actually care [here].”
In the last presidential election, she wrote in Ralph Nader, but she has liked Obama from the very beginning.
“He captures everyone. He is charismatic, has a good record. He seems to actually care. He is not as out of touch as other candidates running.”
For the most part, Cuban-Americans are Republicans. The preference can be traced back to the Bay of Pigs, she said. Her parents were both born in Cuba and came to America when they were teens. Her father, Edmundo Garcia, came via plane and had to pretend to be someone’s brother.
“I have never visited there,” she said. “We have this understanding that we aren’t going back until Cuba’s policies change. My grandpa on my mom’s side was in prison for going against Castro.”
Garcia-Michael takes offense when Obama is called a socialist. She knows bad policy. Her relatives lived in Cuba when Fidel Castro was making promises about health care and education. Though Cuba has fantastic services, it comes at a cost, she said.
“It’s wonderful on paper, but there is no food; you cannot speak privately; you cannot go to church.”
Garcia-Michael was born in New Jersey, but grew up in South Texas, which she described as being as close to Mexico without actually living there. Ohio has suffered economically compared to South Texas, she added. American companies would bring their jobs to South Texas save money.
“I had no idea what Ohio was like,” she said. “I got here last summer and it was green, very green. Texas is always dry because there is never any rain.”
Garcia-Michael is married to George Michael, a master’s student at BGSU.
She wants to stay in academia after graduating, researching how television shapes reality.
The presidential election makes it all the more interesting.
“It is so easy to get the wrong information,” she said. “Television is very powerful, especially if you don’t have a skeptical view of it.”
“Veronica is my doctoral student. She is originally from Texas and brings a different perspective to politics than somebody from Ohio,” according to BGSU professor Srinivas Melkote. “ Veronica is well-informed, perceptive and an articulate communicator. She has been a welcome addition to our graduate student body.”