Danielle Pasteur stands outside her polling place in Lower Bucks County on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. (Keystone Photo/Gema María Duarte) Danielle Pasteur
Danielle Pasteur stands outside her polling place in Lower Bucks County on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. (Keystone Photo/Gema María Duarte)

Women in Lower Bucks County said they wanted change, unity, peace, and respect for women.

Republicans and Democrats alike talk about reaching out to suburban women. But usually, when they’re talking about suburban women, they mean educated and affluent white women.

Lower Bucks, with its mix of races and blue- and white-collar communities, doesn’t quite fit that mold.

Women here, from white to Black, from Morrisville to Bensalem, seemed to agree with each other. They said they want change, unity, peace, and respect for women.

“We are a divided country. It’s politicians who are dividing the country,” said Danielle Pasteur, 45, adding that in 2021 she’s looking forward to “peace” across America. 

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Carmen Jaquez sits in her car outside of her polling place in Lower Bucks County, on Nov. 3, 2020. (Keystone Photo/Gema María Duarte)

Carmen Jaquez, 47, said she hopes for “muchos cambios” (a lot of changes) in late January, after what the Dominican Republic native describes as a nation that has been divided by “el coronavirus.” 

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Ashley Chambers stands outside her polling place in Lower Bucks County on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. (Keystone Photo/Gema María Duarte)

For 34-year-old Ashley Chambers, “women’s voices have been silent far too long.”

“[Voting] was very nerve wracking because of the everyday tensions surrounding this election,” Pasteur said, after voting in Morrisville. “This was the most important vote of my lifetime.”

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Merrysha Samaroo stands in the lobby of her polling place on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. (Keystone Photo/Gema María Duarte)

“I don’t want to be that vote my candidate needed,” Merrysha Samaroo, 52, said, after she voted in Bristol Township. 

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Lucy Wilson stands outsider her polling place in Lower Bucks County on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. (Keystone Photo/Gema María Duarte)

Lucy Wilson voted Tuesday because her life depends on who becomes the next president of the United States.

“I need health care. I’m a single mother with a preexisting condition,” said the 51-year-old Liberian native, who was voting in a presidential election for the first time since becoming a American citizen in 2019. “I have diabetes.”

The current administration has challenged in the Supreme Court the Affordable Care Act, which helps millions of Americans obtain medical coverage, especially those with preexisting conditions. The court is days from hearing oral arguments in a case that could bring down the law, which was enacted during President Barack Obama’s administration.

Another health concern on voter’s minds Tuesday was the coronavirus pandemic.

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Barbara McLaughlin stands in the hall of her polling place on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. (Keystone Photo/Gema María Duarte)

“I lost my mother in the pandemic,” Barbara McLaughlin, 76, said, while at Harry S. Truman High School in Bristol Township, where she voted and volunteered since 5 a.m. and was still going strong at 6 p.m. “I’m excited to see a woman in the forefront, Kamala Harris, but my main focus is the pandemic.”

McLaughlin, originally from Florida, said she feels that life in America is going backwards. 

“I feel it’s worse now than in the 1950s,” she said. “We respected each other. We had differences of opinion and that was OK. We respected that.”

McLaughlin said the country needs to come back together.

“There has to be change,” she said. “I feel if I don’t do or say something (to help make a change), I wouldn’t be able to live with myself. We need someone to bring us together, not pull us apart.”

For Samaroo, it’s about equality, too.

“If I cut myself, my blood is the same color as anyone else with a different skin color,” she said.

Women in Lower Bucks County also agreed that the government isn’t looking out for the welfare of all Americans.

“The richer keep getting richer,” McLaughlin said. “The poor keep getting poorer.”

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Tamara Solano stands outside her polling place in Lower Bucks County on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. (Keystone Photo/Gema María Duarte)

For Tamara Solano, 22, the government isn’t looking out for women’s rights, especially when the current administration pushed Title X, blocking federal money from being used for healthcare providers to refer or inform patients about abortion or birth control.

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Nyriel Solano stands outside her polling place on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. (Keystone Photo/Gema María Duarte)

For her mother, Nyriel Solano, 40, the government isn’t looking out for Puerto Rico, a territory of the United States. The current administration has provided little relief during natural disasters, such as Hurricane Maria in 2018. 

“We get treated poorly and unfairly,” she said. “And the treatment towards us Puerto Ricans has only gotten worse in the last three years.”

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Sheila Tepper stands outside her polling place in Lower Bucks County on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. (Keystone Photo/Gema María Duarte)

For Sheila Tepper, 51, the country needs to work on equality. 

“All lives matter. Black lives matter,” said the Bensalem resident. “You can’t be ignorant. We need to recognize people as one. I’m a grandmother of [racially mixed children] and I want them to be safe wherever they are.”

Chambers couldn’t agree more. Although she does agree with some of the current administration’s policies, she said her mixed race children come first.

“I understand the police,” she said. “But I also understand the need for change.”