Bloomberg campaign co-chair stops in Joplin

Pattria Sly, of Joplin, talks with Greg Fischer, national campaign co-chair for Michael Bloomberg, during a meeting Sunday at the Minnie Hackney Community Service Center in Joplin. Globe | John Hacker

On the eve of the New Hampshire primary, area Democrats turned out Sunday afternoon to hear from the latest candidate to join the race.

Greg Fischer, national campaign co-chair for Democratic candidate Michael Bloomberg, stopped in Joplin at the Minnie Hackney Community Service Center, 110 S. Main St.

Penny Thompson was among those who came to learn more about Bloomberg, a former New York City mayor. She said that while she is sure she will not vote for President Donald Trump, she is not sure which Democrat will get her support.

“Here’s the deal: I will vote blue no matter who it is because Donald Trump needs to go," said Thompson, 56, of Joplin. "... But right now, this is the first time in all my life that I’ve been voting that I haven’t, during the primary, been able to say, 'This is who I’m going to vote for.'”

She also talked about what she wanted to hear from all the candidates.

“I want to hear that they are going to represent us — the people— and not their own personal agenda, like Trump,” Thompson said.

Fischer, the mayor of Louisville, Kentucky, said Bloomberg got into the race too late to be on the ballot in the first four states to hold caucuses and primaries, but he will be on the ballot on Super Tuesday, March 3, when Oklahomans and others vote, and again a week later in Missouri and other states.

“He's a self-made man who grew a globally successful business,” Fischer said of Bloomberg. “He got results as a three-term mayor of New York City. If New York City was its own economy, it would be the 10th-largest country in the world, so he has experience operating a government at scale."

Fischer spoke to about 35 people in Joplin for about 25 minutes, then answered questions for another 15 minutes before the bus departed. Many of those at Sunday’s meeting said they, too, were undecided.

“I have no idea, I don’t know which way I’m going," said Kim Weathers, 57, of Joplin. "But anybody but Trump, definitely. I’m Democrat all the way and anybody but Trump. I’m not for anything Trump is for. I want someone who’s for everyone, not just for certain people and certain agendas. I want someone who is for women. I don’t want them to hate women.”

Zenith Emery, 76, of Joplin, said she likes what she hears from a couple of candidates but that she hasn't settled on one, either.

“I do like Bernie Sanders,” Emery said. “Joe Biden has some things I like about him and some things I don’t. Of course, that's the same with all of them. I like Bernie. I think he would be good. I think we all need health care, and that’s one thing that’s important to me.”

Doris Lewis, 73, of Joplin, said she’s leaning toward Pete Buttigieg.

“I love his ideas. I think he’s what the race really needs, because he’s not that old,” Lewis said. “ ... I love his point of views, and I think we need a fresh guy like him. I really do.

“I’m a vet, and I think we should focus in more on veterans. I just really feel like there should not be a homeless veteran, there should not be an unemployed veteran and we need to bring our soldiers home right now from Afghanistan, Iraq. It has been too long. We don’t need another Vietnam. I was in Vietnam for two years in the Army.”

Denny White, 77, the former mayor of Duquesne, said he thinks Bloomberg has the best chance to beat Trump in the general election.

“I’ve not missed voting but twice since I was 21, but I look for someone I think is honest and is not trying to con the public, someone who tells it the way it is,” White said. “This guy seems to have a good grasp on things. He’s done a few things right, that’s for sure. You don’t make $50 billion in life by making a lot of mistakes. And I think he’d be the most representative of the people.”


Missouri's presidential preference primary is Tuesday, March 10. The deadline to register is Wednesday, Feb. 12.

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