Proud to be an American voter

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Carrie Piascik
  • 92nd Contracting Squadron Unit Voting Assistance Officer
The 92nd Contracting Squadron superintendent drives around base with a Jamaican flag around his rear view mirror. When people ask what unit he is from, he says with his fading Jamaican accent "the 92nd Contractin' Squadron."

There is no doubt about it, Senior Master Sgt. Ian Batchelor's diverse background helps him appreciate the rights and freedoms of being a naturalized U.S. citizen.

Batchelor left Jamaica when he was 18, but the corruption and violence during election season he grew up around has not changed. He says election season in Jamaica is violent. People are afraid to vote because they can get beat or their families will suffer repercussions from the opposing political party.

"Your vote is more valuable here than in Jamaica because you have the freedom to go and vote," said Batchelor. "You don't have a fear of voting like people do in Jamaica. The voting system here is not perfect, but people still have a responsibility to vote for who they think is the right person to represent the country."

A few feet from Batchelor's office sits Senior Airman Kristian Perlas, a naturalized citizen from the Philippines. Perlas has only been living in the U.S. for 3 years and the political atmosphere of the Philippines is still fresh in his mind.

"A vote in the U.S. is more valuable than in the Philippines, people aren't blind voters," said Perlas who described the people are so poor that their votes can be bought with food or as little as 500 pesos, or $10.

He referred to this practice as vote buying. And if you are tired of this year's election advertisements, those don't even come close to the Philippines election propaganda.

"It's awesome here in the United States because election advertisements do not saturate television," said Perlas. "The only things on television in the Philippines during election time are pictures of the candidates."

When asked if he was excited to vote in this year's presidential election, he said, "I didn't care to vote in the Philippines, but I just might vote this year."

The most recent naturalized citizen in the 92nd CONS is Airman 1st Class Abraham Garduza. He grew up in Mexico before coming to the U.S. for high school and college.

He shared his excitement to vote for a president this year.

"I've never voted before, except in the ESPN polls," said Garduza. "I am excited to be able to vote this upcoming election."

Garduza feels more hopeful voting in the U.S. as each party here has equal opportunity of winning an election. He elaborated that before 2000, the same party in Mexico had control of the government for more than 70 years.

When asked what voting meant to him, he emphasized its importance.

"I am proud to be an American," said Garduza. "I feel as though voting is a part of our rights as citizens. People fight to have the right to vote and we shouldn't take that for granted."

With the upcoming elections closing in, the Fairchild Installation Voting Office is available to provide assistance to all members of Team Fairchild with any voting questions or information.

At Fairchild, the Installation Voting Assistance Office is located at 7 W. Arnold St., Building 2040, Suite 109. The voting office is co-located with the Retiree Activities Office and is open from Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Each unit has a unit voting assistance officer who can assist members and their families with any questions they may have. There are also three Fairchild voting assistance officers, Lt. Col. Jim O'Connell, Capt. Maribel Jarzabek and 1st Lt. Sarabeth Moore, who are available by emailing