Posted at: 10/15/2012 8:39 PM
Updated at: 10/15/2012 10:16 PM
By: Dietrich Nissen
Yard Signs Point To Stronger Interest In Local Politics
(ABC 6 News) -- Even with the presidential bid up for grabs, you may have noticed there aren't a lot of national political yard signs compared to local ones.
We spoke with political parties and residents, like Bill Barker, to find out why. Each of the yard signs sitting in Barker's yard represent a person he says he knows.
"Well I tell you what, Mike Pruett is the guy that built our deck so I've known Mike since he was not too big a boy," says Barker. However, it's not just the personal connection, the long-time Rochester resident believes local politics have more of an impact on his life.
"I'm not going to be re-drafted or anything like that, I'm just going to be paying more taxes," says Barker. That's why among his signs, there's nothing that shows support for presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, or his challenger President Obama.
"Nobody asked," says Barker.
"It took us a long time to get the Romney signs physically in here sand so for a long time we just couldn't hand them out because we didn't have any," says Olmsted County's GOP chair, Bruce Kaskubar. He says local candidates have had more time to hand out signs, and he doesn't feel there's a difference in interest between national and local politics.
"I think it's hard to say there's more interest in the local level. I don't think that's the reason for the differences in sign count," says Kaskubar.
"All politics is local," says Olmsted County DFL chair, Lynn Wilson, quoting former US Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neill. She says interest in local candidates has climbed, especially since the government shutdown a year ago.
"People have understood that who you vote for and what you vote for does matter," says Wilson.
But for voters like Barker, the signs in his yard aren't just who he'll vote for, they're his neighbors and friends. People he says he knows will represent him.
Both the GOP and DFL are providing local candidates’ signs for free, although both are willing to take donations. The DFL is charging $5 dollars for Obama-Biden signs, while the GOP is handing out Romney-Ryan signs for free.