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In Election, Some Wisconsin Voters Are Decided

Retired farmers Andy and Bea Novak of Prairie du Chien, Wis., are lifelong Democrats.
Wilma Consul, NPR
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Retired farmers Andy and Bea Novak of Prairie du Chien, Wis., are lifelong Democrats.
Teya Granzow, right, is a "fan" of President Bush. She's seen with her daughter, Lacy, who is holding cousin Rilee.
Wilma Consul, NPR /
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Teya Granzow, right, is a "fan" of President Bush. She's seen with her daughter, Lacy, who is holding cousin Rilee.
The Granzows say their financial picture has brightened since milk prices began to rise earlier this year.
Wilma Consul, NPR /
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The Granzows say their financial picture has brightened since milk prices began to rise earlier this year.
The barn at the Granzows' dairy farm in Eastman, Wis.
Wilma Consul, NPR /
/
The barn at the Granzows' dairy farm in Eastman, Wis.

The Bush and Kerry campaigns hope to woo undecided voters in key swing states like Wisconsin. In the second of two reports from the Dairy State, NPR's Renee Montagne talks to two farming families who've made up their minds about the presidential election.

In rural western Wisconsin, retired farmers Bea and Andy Novak are solidly Democratic. The Prairie du Chien couple, married for 60 years, now tend the flowers and pear and apple trees that surround the white wooden farmhouse where they raised their seven children.

"The first president I voted for was FDR," Bea Novak says, adding that he's the main reason she's a Democrat. "He gave us rural electricity... He took us out of the mud."

Don't get Andy Novak started about the war in Iraq. He says the United States should not have gone to war against Saddam Hussein. "That's nothing but big business and oil," he says. "They've been fighting over there for 2,000 years and they're going to be fighting for another 2,000 years. Why should we get in the middle of it?"

Bea Novak says the economy has worsened during President Bush's term, as manufacturing jobs have moved overseas.

But in nearby Eastman, Wis., beef and dairy farmers Paul and Teya Granzow say the economy isn't so bad, and they plan to vote for the president.

"I am a George Bush fan," Teya Granzow says. "I think he's got some really good ideas. And I don't think that it's been as hard the last four years as a lot of people say. We struggle as farmers. We're not in the poor house yet."

Still, Paul Granzow says he's not strictly a Bush supporter. "I'm a Republican and I stand closer to the Republican issues than the Democratic issues," he says. "It doesn't matter who the president is, it's the issues that the parties represent."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.