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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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The face of Florida voters
By KERI WIGINTON, Times Staff
Published January 27, 2008
Paula Gorman, 43, married, administrator of a nonprofit Christian school in Lake City
Gorman leads the Lake City Mike Huckabee Meetup group.
"I'm a Mike Huckabee supporter," she said. "There's just no two ways about it. Yes, I'm an evangelical. I stand for pro-life. I'm for the marriage amendment, but there's more to Mike than that."
His attempt to appeal to those outside of the party helped garner her support.
"I don't feel like he is the traditional Republican," Gorman said. "There's a mindset that we are basically for the rich and we only care about those in business. I see him caring about everybody as opposed to just the haves."
Kyle Stevens, 27, Miami Lakes, administrator for residential rehabilitation organization
Stevens sees a connection between his engineering background and volunteering for the Barack Obama campaign.
"Politics is social engineering," he explains.
As a newly naturalized citizen - he was born in Mexico to an African father and Jewish mother - Stevens is looking forward to voting in his first presidential election this fall, although he is a longtime volunteer for the Democratic Party of Miami-Dade County.
"I am a social liberal who is fiscally conservative," he said.
Stevens remembers meeting the Illinois senator in Miami in 2005: "I was impressed with his genuineness."
On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Stevens proudly marched through Liberty City in the annual parade waving an Obama '08 sign and distributing stickers. He believes Obama will be able to unite America and close the gaps in economic disparity.
"It will be a defining moment for America," said Stevens. "I am proud of the fact that I am alive at this moment and able to witness it."
Robin Gomez, 35, married, city auditor and Hispanic-Latino liaison for Clearwater
Gomez sees the 2008 presidential race as the most important of his lifetime: "The individual that is selected has the most daunting task in the entire world, in the history of the world."
Gomez legally emigrated from Mexico with his parents and four siblings in 1978. He became a citizen in 1996 and is a regular voter.
"The issues that I care about the most right now are the nation's economy, immigration, homeland security, the Iraq war and the status of our current health care system," he said.
He likes Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama - McCain for his experience and stands on immigration, homeland security and the war in Iraq; Obama for his youth and his ambition.
Gomez sees a lot of similarities between himself and Obama, who also has two young daughters. "He is young and he is a member of a minority group, just like I am," Gomez said. "And he is looking to appeal to as many different groups of people as he can. I like his appeal to everybody and anybody in the United States."
Norma Brill Goldstein, 75, retired, Tamarac
This former Queens, N.Y., resident became interested in politics when a newly elected state senator asked her to become his administrative assistant in the late 1970s.
She and her husband retired to Kings Point, a retirement community on the western edge of Broward County, in 1995.
When her husband died in 2005, friends encouraged her to stay active. Now she's building president and neighborhood entertainment committee chair, plus she helps a friend campaign for commissioner in Tamarac.
A loyal Democrat who votes every year, Goldstein is most concerned about the war, education and the economy.
"Getting our children home safe" is a priority, she said.
Goldstein is supporting Hillary Rodham Clinton.
"I feel Hillary has the knowledge," Goldstein said. "But whoever comes in, whether it is Hillary Clinton or Obama, I will work very hard for them."