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Voter Profiles: Sparks Veteran Leans Toward Trump

Julia Ritchey

  With the general election less than a year away, Reno Public Radio news is bringing you portraits of the voters who make up our region. Over the year, we'll periodically introduce you to a handful of voters and what issues are most important to them. For our first profile, Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey interviewed a veteran from Sparks.

I met Jay Malen standing in line at the Donald Trump rally last month at The Nugget Casino. He wore a ballcap that identified him as a Vietnam vet.

"Sixty-eight and '69 — was over there for 15 months. Came back to Ohio to the woman I married the [same year] I was drafted."

Malen moved from Ohio to Sparks in 1979, and says his top two election issues are…

"Probably jobs and veterans."

The 68-year-old says he was forced to retire as a printer because of exposure to Agent Orange, which has affected his balance.

Even though Malen identifies as an independent, he's been favoring Trump lately.

"He's not politically correct. He's upfront, and I think he's honest. I think he really wants do something for this country."

Like others at the Trump rally, Malen says he is fed-up with Congress.

"The gridlock in Washington, the debt ceiling, the IRS, the bad deals with the Iranians — I mean, there's a lot of things that could've gone better."

Malen may go see a few other candidates that come to town, in particular, Trump's chief rival Ben Carson. 

Julia Ritchey is a former reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
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