Reaction to Gov. Ernie Fletcher and national scandals on Main Street depends a lot on party registration.

Take Lori Dane’t, 45, of Somerset, a business solutions consultant for Office Depot. She’s deeply religious and loyally Republican. She thinks Fletcher and President George Bush are doing their jobs well.

Millie Willis, 55, of Greenup County, a former county Democrat Party Chair who works as secretary at her church, is disgusted with both Fletcher and Bush.

Then there’s Phil Fisher, 59, a Southern Baptist preacher from Eubank and a retired Air Force Chaplain. He hasn’t made up his mind.

All three are engaged on issues — Dane’t says “I don’t just vote Republican because I’m a Republican. I do my research.” Their church and religion are important to each, but each reflects a different attitude about political issues.

“I think Fletcher’s done a good job,” said Dane’t, a single mother of a son and a daughter and a military veteran who served in Desert Storm as a munitions specialist.

“He’s a family man. I’m impressed with what he’s doing and he didn’t have to raise taxes to do it. As of right now, I plan to vote for him again.”

“I’m not at all happy with Fletcher,” Willis said. She thinks he should be held accountable for the alleged abuses of the Merit System. “He gave out so many favors to so many, and then he pardoned them. It was totally political.”

She isn’t buying the accomplishments Fletcher claims, either.

“What’s he done? I can’t honestly think of one good thing he’s done,” Willis said. “I don’t think anything he runs on will help because of what he did in the hiring. That overshadows everything else.”

Fisher said Fletcher may have violated the Merit System, but “he got cornered for something the other governors did too.” He’s not made up his mind whether he’ll vote for Fletcher in 2007, wanting to know who his opponent will be and hoping both candidates will engage in an honest debate about issues.

He said he’ll first look at the candidates’ moral values and where they stand on such issues as “gambling and same sex marriage. Do they value life?” He’s especially concerned with the ravages of gambling on families.

Willis isn’t happy with the national Republicans either. She thinks President George W. Bush’s administration and the Republican Congress are “too secretive,” and have mishandled the war in Iraq while Dane’t said people from other cultures are envious of America and want to harm Americans. She supports the idea that fighting in Iraq decreases the likelihood of attacks on American soil.

Willis thinks House Republican leaders covered up Florida Rep. Mark Foley’s alleged sexually suggestive electronic messages to young pages.

Dane’t called Foley a predator, but she doesn’t believe Republicans covered up his actions.

“I don’t feel there was a cover up, unless maybe it was done by some Democrats who wanted to pull this rabbit out of a hat near the time for voting,” she said.

Fisher said voters may be angry and in an anti-incumbent mood, but he doesn’t share that sentiment. He thinks politicians from both parties place their interests before those of constituents.

“Both parties are more interested in keeping power and often times they ignore some of the issues that really matter.”

But Willis thinks voters are fed up and change is on the way.

“It’s not just anti-incumbent, and it’s not just Fletcher. It’s Bush, too,” she said. “I think it’s the war and people are tired of the Republican leadership.”

RONNIE ELLIS Ellis writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. He can be reached at rellis@cnhi.com.

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