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The Acostas and their presidential choices

By Bill Zeeble, KERA 90.1 reporter

Dallas, TX – Bill Zeeble, KERA 90.1 Reporter: Bill and Grace Acosta are retired, 30-year residents of Oak Cliff, where they raised four children, instilling values of education, family commitment, and community service. These life-long Democrats voted for Al Gore, as did their 41 year old son, Kevin. Yet Kevin Acosta now praises Bush's views and behavior, saying it's refreshing

Kevin Acosta: finally see someone who campaigned on certain issues actually back up those promises as soon as he possibly could. Like "I have a check-off list," and he's checking them off.

Zeeble: And Kevin Acosta likes what's on the President's check list. He says Mr. Bush campaigned on tax cuts, education and health care reform, has passed the tax agenda somewhat intact, and is pushing the other items so they'll pass.

Kevin Acosta: He's fighting, like he said, to bring both sides to the table and come to an agreement

Zeeble: Kevin was on the fence last fall, finally voting for Mr. Gore. But his father, Bill Acosta, never moved from supporting the Democrat. But even he is positive about the new President, especially on some foreign policy issues, where he feared Mr. Bush would be a strong isolationist.

Bill Acosta: I was surprised with a comment he's made several times - that we're not going to pull out of the Balkans immediately, like sometimes I got the impression during the campaign. I'm pleased he's giving the whole set of problems a lot more thought, and he's a lot more open to working with other countries.

Zeeble: Bill Acosta also likes the President's discussions with Mexico's Vicente Fox over possible amnesty for some undocumented immigrants. Even though Acosta sees the move as a political appeal for Hispanic voters, he knows Bush faces opposition in his own party. The father and son's praise of the new President may be surprising, but so is the disappointment felt by Kevin's wife Arcilia. She's a Republican who voted for Mr. Bush.

Arcilia Acosta: I do feel a lot of his positions are extremely conservative. And very cautious, very similar to his father's administration. It mimics it to me.

Zeeble: Arcilia Acosta says she did not vote for George W. Bush because she wanted his father back. She liked the bold campaigner who seemed like a moderate and appeared to reflect her concerns.

Arcilia Acosta: I believe he led Americans to believe he was the new generation of Republicans - things we face daily. I feel a lot of pro big business, and big corporation. I feel him siding with that.

Zeeble: Acosta, whose 6 year old attends a private religious school, wanted Bush to stick to his voucher stance. She wanted him to honor his claim as an environmentalist instead of promoting Alaskan oil exploration. While some say the President and Vice President Cheney are simply showing their true conservative colors, this mother of two is just let down. As a result, she believes George W. Bush will hold office for one term, just like his father. Meanwhile, Arcilia Acosta's mother-in-law, Grace, is mostly neutral. She didn't vote for Mr. Bush, wasn't inspired by him, so isn't let down. But she also makes no predictions about the President's future in office

Grace Acosta: I need to see. I mean, this short of a time. I don't see any big changes. I think we need to see - we don't know what'll be in another six months.

Zeeble: All the Acostas in this story agree on one thing. Despite presidential promises of big changes, they haven't really felt them yet. Though they haven't received the expected tax refunds yet, the Acostas aren't really excited about them either. For KERA 90.1, I'm Bill Zeeble.