• Letter of the Week—November 7th, 2011

    This recession has affected my life in every way. The corporation I worked for exported most of our product sets to another country and closed the plant in Augusta, Maine, where I worked. I could not find a job that would allow me to keep up with my current payments, so I went full time into sub-contract building, which I had been involved in on a part-time basis up until that point. This was challenging because I am a single parent who had two children at home.

    In the spring of 2008, the jobs were getting more and more difficult to find. By the summer, the contractors I had been doing work for had stopped building and the work had dried up. Since I am a disabled veteran, I qualified for vocational rehabilitation education benefits and have been attending college at the University of Maine at Augusta since fall of 2008. I am grateful for these benefits because without this, the last four years would have been impossible. I will graduate in the spring with a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a management focus and a certificate in human resource management. I have also worked for the VA in a work-study position at the college processing educational benefits for veterans, which has also helped.

    My daughter is attending the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine and is in her junior year. She is an excellent student and always applies herself. She has student loans and we have taken advantage of the subsidized loans. I have been paying the difference with my work-study money, and the college's financial assistance has been instrumental in making it so that this is something that I can afford. My son is also an excellent student and will be going into college when my daughter graduates in 2013. I am glad that President Obama encourages education and is passing legislation to make it easier for these young graduates to meet their repayment obligations in light of the grim job outlook. My son will have the same challenges to address, but I don’t want it to prevent them from working toward a college degree. The children are our future and they need to be educated to overcome these challenges.

    I agree with President Obama’s jobs plan because we can’t afford to reduce the amount of teachers, police, and emergency workers in this time of need. We are always in need of infrastructure improvement, and this act will mutually benefit those who are hired and improve roads, bridges, schools, etc. … Since I will be graduating this coming spring, I am hoping that a veteran preference will help me get a job that will be mutually beneficial for myself and the economy. I am glad that these programs will be funded by discontinuing the subsidies that we are currently giving to the oil and fuel companies.

    I have supported President Obama since I heard him speak in 2007. I believe that he really cares about the people of this country, and I mean all of the people of this country. He realizes that the wealth gap is increasing and is truly interested in figuring out a way to reverse this trend in a positive way. He is a very intelligent individual who overcomes scrutiny and outright rudeness by those would sacrifice the country just so that he gets absolutely nothing passed through the House of Representatives. I am absolutely disgusted by the partisan politics and believe that many Americans are also disgusted. Until Barack Obama, I have never contributed money to any presidential candidate. I truly believe in his plan and try to contribute when I can. He represents my interests, and that is what a president is supposed to do. The interests of the people need to be paramount.

    —Clifford

    Letter of the Week