With two of their three children in tow, Patrick and Sharon Richards of Lithia were among the more than 2,000 people who crowded into the Landmark Aviation hangar in Tampa yesterday to await the arrival of former Gov. Mitt Romney's private plane.
They said they came not only to support their "future president," but to serve as an example for their homeschooled children.
"Voting is one of our basic constitutional rights," said Patrick Richards. "So we wanted to show the children the process early so they will become involved voters when it's their turn."
The Richards say they're supporting Romney because he reflects their family values.
They're staunch pro-life advocates and feel Romney will uphold the right-to-life principles they cherish.
"I don't like to see federal funding going to abortion," said Patrick Richards.
They're also concerned with what they perceive as an attack on religious liberties by the Democrats.
"Romney shares our views," said Sharon Richards. "We think he'll make a great president."
Nine-year-old Landon Richards agreed. "He's a good guy."
Also among the crowd was River Hills resident Rene Vojnovic, a recruiter for Hillsborough County's Guardian ad Litem program.
"I came to support Romney because we desperately need jobs in this area," said Vojnovic.
She believes high unemployment in the area has played a role in the number of children removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect.
The Guardian ad Litem program represents these children in court proceedings.
"As of September, we had 2,954 kids in the system, and 1,000 of them still need guardians," said Vojnovic.
She feels there would be fewer children in the court system if there were more jobs for their parents.
"Unemployment is a major stressor, leading to drug and alcohol abuse that can result in child abuse," she said. "I would rather see people get jobs so they're able to properly care for their children."