Milford Locals Talk Parade, Politics on Labor Day Milford, N.H., residents Jack and Gail Ruonala talk with Melissa Block about their love of the town's Labor Day Parade. They've attended the event for 29 years. It's always a good time and often provides the chance to get near the country's presidential hopefuls.

Milford Locals Talk Parade, Politics on Labor Day

Milford Locals Talk Parade, Politics on Labor Day

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Milford, N.H., residents Jack and Gail Ruonala talk with Melissa Block about their love of the town's Labor Day Parade. They've attended the event for 29 years. It's always a good time and often provides the chance to get near the country's presidential hopefuls.


Also there along the parade route are Milford residents Gail and Jack Ruonala. I met the Ruonalas earlier this year when I visited Milford to talk with voters about the presidential race.

Gail and Jack, good to talk to you again.

Mr. JACK RUONALA (Milford Resident): Well, good to talk to you, too.

Ms. GAIL RUONALA (Milford Resident): Nice to talk to you.

BLOCK: And what's your favorite part of the parade so far?

Mr. RUONALA: I think I was impressed most with the bridge that's going to be put over one of the streams in Milford that lost a bridge in one of the floods we had.

BLOCK: And the bridge itself was paraded through?

Mr. RUONALA: The bridge itself was paraded through. It must have been 40 feet or so long. And it was just really nice to see that because it was from contributions from just people that wanted to help out.

BLOCK: Have to be careful getting that around the oval, I guess?

Mr. RUONALA: Yes. But they had planned it in advance, so they knew that it would work.

BLOCK: And, Gail, what about you? What have you seen that you liked?

Ms. RUONALA: Oh, the youth football team just stole the people's hearts around here. They were great.

BLOCK: Now, I noticed neither of you has mentioned the presidential candidates as being your favorite part of this parade.

Ms. RUONALA: Well, we're thinking it over.

Mr. RUONALA: We were impressed with the fact that so many of the candidates did come to New Hampshire and to Milford to be seen. I thought that was really well done. And there was a good amount of representation for each of them. That was really fine.

BLOCK: Now, we just heard from David Greene that Mitt Romney was out running the route. I thought that the way this work was that the candidates were supposed to stay up on floats and they weren't allowed to get down?

Mr. RUONALA: Well, that's what they tell the candidates each time, that the governor gets to walk and everybody else has to ride. But almost every year…

Ms. RUONALA: Loosely translated.

Mr. RUONALA: Yeah. That gets violated every year.

BLOCK: You said loosely translated, Gail?

Ms. RUONALA: Yes. Yes.

BLOCK: Nobody obeys.

Ms. RUONALA: It's great seeing them walking in our street. They just feel he'd be safer if he was on a float. But it's such a small town scene, that really, he's not really endangered by walking in a street with the parade.

BLOCK: Sure. Sure.

Ms. RUONALA: It's great to see him that way.

BLOCK: What's the weather today?

Ms. RUONALA: Absolutely beautiful, mid-'70s maybe. Sun is shining, small breeze - absolutely a perfect Milford day.

BLOCK: How many candidates would you say you've seen so far this year, not today during the parade, but in this primary season?

Mr. RUONALA: Six or seven anyway have come through Milford that we've experienced one way or another, either by listening on the radio to what they had to say or seeing them in person or reading about them. So it's been pretty well represented, yes.

BLOCK: Who have you seen?

Mr. RUONALA: Well, we've seen Obama, Romney, Dodd…

BLOCK: And that was just today.

Mr. RUONALA: And that was today. And then we've heard the conversations locally from Richardson and Hillary and McCain. And those were all very interesting to listen to, also.

BLOCK: You know, when we've met back earlier this year, you told me that your advice to candidates in New Hampshire was don't waffle. Do you think they have been taking your advice?


BLOCK: No. You've heard some waffling?

Mr. RUONALA: Well, I think there's a tendency to go with what seems most popular at the time. Like, it's extremely popular now to be totally against the war, so I think the majority of them have taken a firm stand in that area. But beyond that, there doesn't seem to be much firming up at all.

BLOCK: Do you two come to the Labor Day parade in Milford every year?

Mr. RUONALA: Well, since I retired from the military, we have been to 29 parades.

BLOCK: Twenty-nine parades?

Mr. RUONALA: In 29 years.

BLOCK: You just can't miss it?

Ms. RUONALA: Oh, you don't want to miss this. Oh, gracious, your grandchildren are in the parade, grandmothers, you know, everybody.

Mr. RUONALA: We plan our vacations around the Labor Day parade.

BLOCK: Well, sounds like a great time. Gail and Jack Ruonala, thanks so much for talking with us and enjoy the rest of your Labor Day.

Ms. RUONALA: You're welcome.

Mr. RUONALA: You're welcome and good luck to you.

BLOCK: Gail and Jack Ruonala, speaking with us earlier today from along the Labor Day parade route in Milford, New Hampshire.

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