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    Election 2018 Midterm Sprint

    Immigration, Healthcare & Jobs: The Issues Driving US Midterm Voter Turnout

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Issues such as healthcare, the economy, immigration and foreign policy will be critical determining factors for US residents when casting their ballots in Tuesday’s midterm elections, voters told Sputnik.

    Voters will cast ballots for 435 seats in the US House Representatives and one-third of the 100-member Senate. This election is crucial for US President Donald Trump, who needs Republicans to maintain control of Congress in order to push his policy agenda.

    Healthcare

    Although US voters deem healthcare a key issue they differ on what needs to be done, with some blaming Trump for threatening the healthcare system while others want to repeal Obamacare.

    "I would say healthcare [is a priority] because [its] currently under major threat from the federal government," Lindsey Van Orman, a voter from New York City, told Sputnik. "Everything that the Trump administration is doing is having an impact on the future of our healthcare system."

    The United States needs lawmakers who will push back against the Trump administration’s federal policies, Van Orman added.

    Woodrow Bean of Texas sees healthcare as important but has a different perspective on it.

    Bean said both parties have failed US residents on the issue of providing affordable and accessible healthcare, but he backs the repeal of the Affordable Care Act also known as Obamacare.

    "I am in support of… efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare with a more middle ground healthcare approach with access to purchase health insurance across state lines to help drive cost down and increase access with more competition," Bean told Sputnik.

    Bean explained he does not favor government-controlled healthcare and believes no candidate should support it.

    READ MORE: US Healthcare FTW: Pfizer CEO Gets 61% Pay Raise as Drug Prices Skyrocket

    Moreover, Bean said, Obamacare has caused significant damage in the US healthcare system, which is one of the reasons he cannot support Congressman Beto O'Rourke over incumbent Republican Senator Ted Cruz in Tuesday’s intense Senate race in Texas.

    Economy

    Although Republicans appear well-positioned to maintain control of the Senate, Texas has become a high-profile race because Trump has spent significant capital in trying to get Cruz elected.

    Plus, the left-leaning upstart O’Rourke has surprised many by keeping the contest close in such a Republican-leaning state. However, the latest average of about half a dozen polls shows Cruz pulling away just hours until the vote.

    The economy is another key topic for US voters and specifically in the race between Cruz and O’Rourke, Texas resident Steve Lettunich told Sputnik.

    "As a Senator representing one of the largest oil and gas producing regions in the world it is a must that whoever that may be, they put Texas jobs and economic growth ahead of partisan politics," Lettunich said.

    Lettunich said Cruz set himself apart from other candidates with policies favorable to growers of pecans, the state’s most valuable agricultural export.

    "While others including O’Rourke are stuck on the idea of begging China to rethink the tariffs, Cruz had the foresight to begin working with the State Department and their counterparts in India to expand and create new markets for our Texas producers," Lettunich said.

    Bean pointed out another critical industry in Texas will be impacted by who the state sends to Washington.

    "I'm afraid strict restrictions and regulations would lead to the destruction of the energy sector in Texas which is now producing and surpassing major oil countries like Iraq and Iran," Bean said.

    Taxes are an important issue for David Garcia, also a likely voter from the state of Texas.

    Garcia told Sputnik that local government has been involved in bringing sports parks, arenas, and more tourist based attractions to the area but through the wrong means.

    READ MORE: Trump's Trade Policies ‘Completely Backwards': Tariffs Won't Bring Jobs to US

    "The government has raised our property taxes quite a bit in the past years in order to fund all these attractions as well as their salaries," Garcia explained.

    Immigration

    Immigration has been a hot topic across the country but especially in states like Texas, which shares a border with Mexico. Trump has deployed 5,000 military personnel to the southern border as a US-bound migrant caravan from Central America makes its way through Mexico.

    Earlier on Monday, a Pueblo Sin Fronteras immigration group official told Sputnik that the caravan has now reached Mexico City.

    "With recent caravans starting to build throughout South America on top of nearly one thousand people crossing the border illegally every day we have to secure our border," Bean argued.

    Bean also said that he understands people want better lives but worried that a large criminal element has infiltrated the migrant caravan.

    Garcia was sympathetic towards immigrants because he has family members living on the other side of the border, and they have been granted the opportunity to visit and work in the United States.

    "They have shown to be an asset for the growth of the nation and that's what allowing immigrants should be about," Garcia said. "Bringing quality immigrants will keep this country producing great outstanding jobs and businesses."

    Foreign Policy

    Jeff Patingan, 35, a Graphic Designer from Honolulu, the capital of the US state of Hawaii, named foreign policy as high on the list of issues driving his voting decision in Tuesday’s midterms.

    "Foreign policy issues are important to me, especially when it comes to national security," Patingan told Sputnik. "I think Trump has to be tougher on Russia, but I’m happy about the improving relationship with North Korea."

    Bean lamented that the state of US-Russian relations has never been worse since the Cold War with the Soviet Union.

    That said, Bean still thinks whoever is elected should keep moving forward with sanctions against Moscow for its moves in the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

    "Peace through strength seems to be the best thing to do at this time," Bean said. "Continue talking but also continue sanctions until they are willing to change for the better."

    Van Orman complained that Trump is persistently alienating US allies like Canada while playing "hopscotch" with so-called dictators in Russia and North Korea.

    READ MORE: US Vows Cyberattack if Russia 'Directly Interferes' With Midterms — Reports

    Alex Gonzalez of New York, however, feels that the intense focus on Russia has distracted from more important matters.

    "I think we have enough problems within this country," Gonzalez told Sputnik. "The biggest threat is coming from within this very White House. Let's deal with that first, and perhaps then the other problems might resolve naturally."

    Washington has imposed several rounds of sanctions against Russia for allegedly interfering in US elections and Ukraine domestic affairs, among other allegations, all of which Moscow has repeatedly denied as unfounded attempts to fuel Russophobic hysteria.

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