RNC 2012: Chicagoans in Florida chime in on election
August 29, 2012 (LARGO, Fla.) (WLS) -- Florida is a popular retirement and even relocation spot for Chicagoans. Some of them are sharing their thoughts on the state of our economy and where they think the election is heading.
About 25 miles west of Tampa, in suburban Largo, Florida, there is home-cooking. That is, if you moved here from Chicago.
"We get our sausage right from Chicago, our giardinera. So we're just a little pizzeria here," said restaurant owner Joanne Barnes.
Barnes and husband Dave opened their restaurant called "Untouchables" 22 years ago. Here, Windy City transplants talk Bears, Bulls, White Sox, Cubs, and of course politics.
In working class Largo -- hard hit by the housing crash and unemployment --residents have watched the convention on TV and see its theme: "We built it."
ABC7's panel -- all raised as Chicago Democrats -- have been slow to trust Republicans who claim to be middle-class heroes.
"I was always told by my parents that we vote Democrat, so I continued that," said Joanne Barnes.
"I stayed a Democrat. Why? Cause I always like the Democratic way they did things," said Joe Minarik.
But others here shed light on why Florida is now considered a swing state.
"I'm more independent now than I was when I lived in Chicago," said Pat Minarik.
"When I go into vote, I don't push one lever like they used to," said ex-Chicagoan Noreen Moscone.
"I don't vote strictly Democrat anymore," said Joanne Barnes.
At Untouchables, ABC7 found no one who regretted moving to Florida, where there is no state income tax, and low sales and property taxes.
But our transplants complained about paying five to 10 times more for homeowners insurance because of hurricanes.
"We haven't had any activity since 2005," said Moscone, "but I've got nothing but raises like everybody else since 2005."
politics, charles thomas
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