Commentary: I voted for Trump, but Biden’s American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan will be my lifeline
As a Marine Corps veteran, small-business owner and worker in various industries, I have always believed that hard work, service and sacrifice are the keys to success. My first job was a paper route at 13, and I have worked hard ever since. But now it feels like hard work isn’t enough to support my family.
Life wasn’t exactly easy even before the pandemic. My wife, Cindy, has had numerous serious health problems over the last 20 years, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, breast cancer and a series of strokes that have left her unable to care for herself. She is my soulmate, the mother of our child, my everything. So I have done whatever is necessary to care for her at home.
For about 10 years, I was able to pay all our bills from my successful handyman business doing painting and home improvements for clients. But when I couldn’t afford health care for our family, I got a second job at FedEx for the health benefits.
The last few years have felt like we were just holding on. I have never had a regular schedule at FedEx, making it extremely difficult to care for my wife in the way she needs. Plus, working and being a caretaker has meant I’ve had less time to take care of myself: I missed many of my own therapy appointments to treat post-traumatic stress disorder.
Then, Cindy had a severe stroke and lost the use of over 30 percent of her brain. Now her verbal skills are like those of a 5-year-old. We needed home care workers to help her while I was at work, but when COVID hit we couldn’t get anyone to come to our home. In the midst of a pandemic, even with my additional job, neither of us had the health care we needed – I was terrified of what would happen if we got sick.
My wife needs home care desperately but even now, as COVID infections have dropped, I can’t get it for her because it’s too expensive. We make do as best we can, but I worry constantly if I have to leave her at home alone for long periods.
As I’ve worked to find solutions to the problems our family is facing, I realized that we need to speak up if we want to make sure our government puts the needs of working people first. I got involved with the organization WorkMoney because I wanted to join with like-minded Americans pushing for policies that give us the chance to succeed.
I voted for Donald Trump in the last election, but it’s time to focus on what our government can do right now to create good jobs and support families. That’s why I’ve been urging members of the Maine congressional delegation to support the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan and to work to pass these bills without delay and without major cuts to the programs that will help working families.
The American Jobs Plan will bring back more good-paying jobs that families like mine need. Currently, it also includes a $400 billion investment in home care work, which could help me find support I can afford for Cindy.
The American Families Plan will ensure the elderly and people with disabilities like Cindy get the home care they need to survive and that all Americans can get the affordable health care they need to lead health and happy lives.
I am exhausted working three jobs: delivering packages for FedEx, keeping my business afloat and trying to take care of Cindy. I’m not afraid to work hard, but it should mean that I can live a good life.
It’s time our government put hard-working people first and provide good jobs and health care options for all Americans. We need to get America working again. We need to get the economy started again. We need to get people healthy again. The American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan are what we need to get back on our feet.