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Downtown Holland a railroad town. Several residents work at the Alcoa plant near Rockdale or at Westinghouse near Round Rock. Both have recently laid off over a hundred employees each, but unemployment in Taylor, population a little over 10,000, is at 3.5%. “All the candidates have been through here,” Taylor Daily Press editor Richard Finnell said, “but there’s: very little interest in any of the races. People around here gOt jerked around terrible by redistricting, and the turnout was ParticularlY ‘small this year in the primaries.” Despite the area’s agricultural base, Finnell has.noted little interest in the ag commissioner’s contest, because, he said, “farmers know the office has little to do with their welfare. And you hear nothing at all about the governor’s race except that neither Clements or White are well liked.” J. J. Crim, a Taylor city councilman and furniture-store owner, agrees with Finnell. “There’s no movement ‘either ‘way,” he said. “We’re on the edge of everything going on since redistricting. Used to, Dan Kubiak [the state representative from Rockdale] was always over here, but now there’s nothing going on. The congressional race, there’s no feeling at all; the senate race, it’s totally blank, although imagine Bentsen is strong here.” Although Williamson County traditionally votes Democratic, Ronald Reagan carried the county in 1980. “I think the people still believe in him,” Crim said. T GRANGER, one of three Czech farming communities be tween Taylor and Temple, Joe Vrabel looked up from the keyboard of a 60-year-old Linotype machine and observed that for farmers in the area, “the market’s so bad, I guess they’re worried about that more than politics.” Vrabel is owner and publisher of Nasinec, the only totally Czech newspaper in Texas. \(The His paper, with 1,650 subscribers in both the U.S. and Canada, carries world headlines and local news, but Vrable said he hadn’t run any political stories lately. Mainly he runs obituaries, including one with the headline, “Monaco truchli smiti Princezny Grace.” On the outskirts of Granger, T. E. Walker and four companions sat on kitchen chairs outside Cal’s Green Front Lounge. “We ain’t givin’ nothin’ to no goddamn politician,” one of the men muttered when I told them what I wanted. I tried explaining again, and another man said, “I bet you’re a Republican. Republicans is for rich people.” Walker, who claimed to be 88-yearsold, said he had always voted for Democrats, “whenever they let me.” He said the only time he voted for a Republican was when blacks were barred from the Democratic primary and in Granger were allowed to vote only in school board elections. \(Texas blacks were denied the Democratic party primary ballot from “We known hard times around here,” he said, “like my daddy, he was from slave people. It was Roosevelt who helped us. It sure weren’t no Republican. You could come down here with a gun and line people up, and black people round here’d say, ‘You’ll have to shoot me cause I ain’t votin’ for no Republican.’ ” A few minutes later I heard the same sentiments expressed in Holland, another of the withered little farming communities between Taylor and Temple. “The only thing I wouldn’t vote for is a goddamned Republican,” 71-yearold Homer Decker said. Decker, a wizened little chipmunk of a man, was sitting with three companions on a bench outside the justice-of-the-peace office on Holland’s main street. “Usually anybody with a double-car garage is a Republican,” he said, “and here I am, I ain’t even got a garage.” Decker nudged the quiet, smiling fellow sitting next to him. “Paul here’s a Republican,” he said. “He’s got 6,000 acres of land, and he’s one of the biggest Republicans in these parts. Won’t even let me hunt and fish on his land.” Paul Reid just smiled. Homer Decker’s brother, I. D., said he had told a friend just the other day, “You come to town, you had holes in your britches and patches on your shoes, then you got a job at Union Carbide, and now you’re a Republican. I never seen a Republican that had anything for the working man.”, I. D. Decker said he lived on the Gulf Coast from 1939 until he retired three years ago and moved back to Holland. He was an iron worker, and he and his Wife raised eight children. “I’m 62-years-old,” he said, “and I’ve got my first Republican to vote for yet. I was telling my wife just the other day that it looks like every time we’ve had a Republican president, we’ve had a hard time making it.” Homer Decker predicted Gov. Clements’ defeat because so many people around the state are out of work. In Holland, he said, there was no unemployment because no one was employed to begin with. “Only ones left around here,” he said, “are retired people, old guys like us.” m ANY OF THE young ones have gone to Temple, Where ,, according to Temple Daily Telegram editor David Hardin, “the economy is very good.” Temple unemployment is at 3%. \(It’s slightly higher in nearby Killeen because of the large number of Fort Hood wives on the job of four hospitals in the city, is Temple’s largest employer with some 3,000 on the payroll. Some 30 industries are located in and around this city of nearly 50,000, including Mobile Chemical, American Desk, and Texas Instruments. “Even TI’s troubles have had little impact here because of our diversity,” Hardin said. “They had been laying off clumps of 30 and 40, then American Desk laid off a few last spring but hired them back. Businesses are just waiting for interest rates to come down.” Though Temple, the town that produced Texas governors Ma and Pa Ferguson, has always voted Democratic, Hardin said he senses no widespread dissatisfaction with Reagan’s handling of the economy. “Most,” he said, “still blame excessive government spending. I don’t think they’re dissatisfied with Reagan.” Bell County went for John Hill in 1978, and in this year’s Democratic primary, THE TEXAS OBSERVER 5