PULSE OF THE VOTER: Durham focused on cabinet over candidate

Apr. 3—A Laurel County resident recently sat down with us to discuss the issues most important to her for the 2024 election.

Melina Durham, 22, of London, is a registered Democrat who works for the Lexington branch of Panariagroup, an Italian ceramics company, as a Social Media Manager and Brand Specialist. Durham was born in London and graduated from South Laurel High School and the University of Dayton with a Bachelor's degree in Graphic Design.

As the number of candidates remaining in the race dwindles, it appears as though the 2024 election will once again feature President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump as the two main choices for voters, with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. also in the mix as an Independent candidate.

Of the primary candidates, Durham voiced her support for incumbent President Joe Biden and said that she planned to vote for him in November, though she is not particularly fond of either candidate, stating, "I think that both of them are selfishly ruining it for the entire country by running again....I am angry with the Democratic Part for having (Biden) as an option."

Durham said, "I am more so voting for (Biden's) cabinet...rather than him as a candidate."

When asked about the issue of abortion, particularly in light of the June 2022 Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and return the issue to the states, Durham staunchly supported access to abortion, stating, "Just because I would not personally have an abortion doesn't mean I am going to support limiting another person's decision to do what they want to do with their body.

"Contrary to what people might believe, I actually don't really like a lot of government involvement when it comes to autonomy," she said.

In relation to the topic of government intervention, Durham was asked about the role the United States should play in foreign affairs, particularly in relation to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine.

"I hate the idea that it is our job to be the police of the world..," she said. "I do not like how the U.S is providing the bombs and machinery to kill (Palestinians) but also providing aid to the people in Gaza at the same time."

Durham vehemently supported a ceasefire, saying that was "way beyond due at this point."

On the issue of immigration, Durham took a nuanced position, stating that she supports stricter immigration policy but for it to be done in a humane way.

"America was founded on immigration and that is something that we encourage to support the American Dream...How are people supposed to have that opportunity if they are in line for years to do it the right way and are in these terrible situations? I think that is awful," she said. "A lot of our doctors are immigrants, especially where we live. There needs to be a number of (skilled) people that we allow in, but also a number of refugees that we allow."

In recent years, the issue of climate change has become a topic of much discussion among young people, many of whom are concerned that their quality of life may drop drastically of nothing is done.

Durham found herself aligned with this sentiment, stating, "I think we are way beyond the rest of the world when it comes to making laws that help the environment....These large corporations are really what is destroying the environment, and I hate that it is blamed on civilians...We have an opportunity to be a world leader in climate change and helping the environment."

As the 2024 election looms closer, political debate will undoubtedly heat up around this pivotal election.