Howard University News Service
Roy Almandrez is a life-long Republican and a Navy veteran of four military conflicts.
With that background, Almandrez, 47, a radiologist in the small suburban town of Kensington, Md., might be expected to cast his presidential ballot for a fellow Navy man, Republican Sen. John McCain.
Instead, Almandrez voted Tuesday for Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama.
It was, Almandrez said, “the right thing to do.”
It was time for a change, said Almandrez, a native of the Philippines who came to the United States as a teen. It was time to see someone other than a white male as president of the United States, he said.
“It’s time for a minority to be in office,” he said.
Almandrez, who fought in Grenada in 1983, Lebanon in 1985, Panama in 1989 and the Gulf War in 1991, said it was former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell’s recent endorsement of Obama that convinced him to change parties this election.
“I was in the car when I heard that Colin Powell was endorsing Obama, and I was screaming ‘YES! YES! ,'” he said
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Obama will change the “The War on Terror,” Almandrez said. It’s important to him because his son will begin his second deployment in Iraq in March, he said.
“There needs to be a stop to this war immediately,” he said. “The president, who I voted for, made an unjust decision, and we all know these wars were illegal.”
Almandrez said it came as a shock to his family that he planned to vote for Obama.
“It was pretty surprising to hear that my dad was voting for Obama,” said his daughter, Jessika Almandrez, 19, who is majoring in pre-medicine at Montgomery Community College in Rockville, Md., and who voted for Obama with her father at Rock Creek Elementary School just blocks from their home. “At first I thought he was joking.”