Durham voters say economy, need for unity will get them to the polls

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- We are checking in with voters all across the Triangle area for our Hometown Voices series.

Many people in south Durham say the economy and the need for peace and unity will be driving them to the polls this November.

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At the restaurant Harvest 18, you can find chef and owner Jason Smith in the kitchen at his wood fire grill whipping up farm-to-table culinary creations. He takes pride in providing a space where people can come together even when their viewpoints are far apart. With big elections in two months, Smith is the most concerned about keeping his people on the job.

"We employ over 10 percent of the state... restaurants do. My people are blue collar paycheck-to-paycheck folks and missing a week to two weeks and months of pay is just not an option," Smith said.

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Kelly Heaphy, who stopped at Harvest 18 for lunch, is self-employed and is also concerned about the economy. She stresses about healthcare as well.

"We really don't have an option where we can go through our employer and get a good plan. We just have to hope that there's one that fits on our budget and is actually going to cover what we need," Heaphy said.

Across Fayetteville Road at Renaissance Barbershop the clippers and buzzing and so is the conversation.

Here, there's a call for new leadership, especially when it comes to the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tim McIntosh who runs the shop wants a leader who can be honest about what's really happening in America pertaining to the pandemic and who can bring people together.

"I just think that unified leadership across the nation and collaboration, and not acting like it's not happening," McIntosh said.

Customer Bryon Bellamy says he will voting for Joe Biden. He feels there has been a lack of transparency and that the current administration hasn't done enough for individual citizens.

"We have to do more for our citizens period. And then the social unrest. Our leadership is fanning the flames instead of bringing people together," Bellamy said.

Adrian, who only wants to use his first name, is a young, first-time voter. He believes unity is everything.

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"If we're fighting amongst each other instead of coming in unity, how are you going expect positive results," Adrian said.

The results Carolyn Rhodes is hoping for after Vote 2020 is over are more jobs and more people of color in leadership rolls, but she says the work shouldn't stop after the polls close.

"I believe that the biggest change that we make is within ourselves," Rhodes said. "We can't just stop after the voting process no matter what the results."
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