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Poverty-Stricken Carriere, Mississippi, Have Little Faith in Presidential ElectionAired October 17, 2000 - 2:26 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Keeping the economic good times going has been a central theme of this presidential campaign. For residents of the small Mississippi town of Carriere, that message has a hollow ring. Folks there don't know the meaning of prosperity and they feel like they are the forgotten people in a state where nearly 1/5 of the population lives below the poverty level.
CNN's Maria Hinojosa takes us there.
MARIA HINOJOSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Carriere, Mississippi is a tiny town worlds away from Washington, D.C.; far away from the politics of power, far away from that magical economic boom the presidential candidates rave about.
Off Minkler Road (ph), a small trailer park, 12 strong, sits where a watermelon patch once grew. Every day, the kids come home from school to a neighborhood with no name. There's no extra money for signs here, just one trampoline, a tree that substitutes for a jungle gym and a dirt patch for riding bikes.
Fifty-one-year-old Claudia Jo Jackson babysits kids to make money. She broke her arm six months ago and can't work as a house painter. All this talk of prosperity in the presidential race -- it makes little sense to her.
CLAUDIA JO JACKSON, HOUSEPAINTER: I live from payday to payday and hope it gets there; hope that your money stretches that far.
HINOJOSA: Down the road, Becky Clary is raising two teenage daughters in her small trailer on less than $1,000 a month.
REBECCA JO CLARY, WAITRESS: Being a waitress, sometimes I feel ashamed to say, yes, OK, I'm a waitress.
HINOJOSA: Becky can't afford new flowerpots, so used milk crates will do. She says she's going to vote, probably, for Gore, but says she's heard little to give her hope.
CLARY: I mean, you hear them say all kinds of things, but you wait and wait and wait and nothing happens. I mean, you still can't afford health insurance. You still can't afford car insurance. You can't afford, you know, half the time to keep your kids in school clothes.
HINOJOSA: Once a week, her neighbor Shadrack Quave, a retired firefighter, carries his laundry back from his grandkids' trailer to his own because he can't afford a washer and dryer. Still, he's feeling optimistic.
SHADRACK QUAVE, RETIRED FIREFIGHTER: Everybody lives good around here. There's plenty of work going on, plenty of building.
HINOJOSA: Shadrack already knows who he likes for president.
QUAVE: You hear Bush; they want Bush. You can go to the barbershop, coffee shop, it's Bush, Bush, Bush.
HINOJOSA: In this Southern state wrapped in local pride, nearly a fifth of the people live below the poverty level. It's gotten better in recent years, say the government statistics, since the last time a politician really paid attention to the poor here.
At least, that's how 81-year-old Hilda Hart (ph) sees it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They don't understand you. You have to go through this, here, to know what it's like.
HINOJOSA: Understand the difference, these folks say, between politicians talking to the poor and what it's really like to live in downright poverty.
Maria Hinojosa, CNN, Carriere, Mississippi.
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