Neighbors Look Beyond Politics, Find Friendship - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/31/04-East Texas

Neighbors Look Beyond Politics, Find Friendship

These last few days before the election are crucial to many undecided voters, but there are many others that long ago made up their minds on who they want to see in the White House.

It's those voters who you'll see proudly displaying political signs for the candidate of choice on their cars and in their front yards.  With a community divided on the issues you would think those displays would have the potential to rub folks the wrong way.  Sometimes you have to look past the signs to see the true relationship.

Since 1977 the Robertsons and the Roarks have lived across the street from each other on Barclay St. in Tyler.  Over the years they've developed a close friendship, with one distinct difference.

"He's always got Republican signs and we've always got Democrat signs in our front yards," said Judy Roark.

You see the Roarks are proud Democrats, the Robertson, proud Republicans.  Come political season, the two like to show off their party by placing political signs in the yards.

"Well a lot of times when you are in a neighborhood and you pass you say they're across the street from each other they probably don't get along too well, but that's not the case," said Bill Robertson.

The signs tell only part of the story.  Bill and Judy have spent the last 15 years working side-by-side to help put on local elections.  Their relationship even allowing for a little humor.

"Judy and I would share a joke, you sit all day with somebody you can't work 12 hours without a jab or two, it's all in fun," said Bill.

"They would make jokes like that and say are you gonna vote Republican this year and I would say no I'm waiting for you to vote Democrat," said Judy.

The signs may tell the world who these two want in the White House, but they say nothing of their friendship.

"We're the best of friends anything that Judy would want or do or tell me would be right, I trust her," said Bill.

"We'll always be friends, always, but I know we'll never change and I'm pretty sure they won't either but it won't change our friendship," said Judy.

Bill and Judy have both worked as election judges in Smith County.

Chris Gibson, reporting

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