I just read that one of my senators was the only one to oppose legislation to extend unemployment benefits. I wrote him a letter immediately. Here’s what I said:
I am deeply disappointed to read that you were the only Senator to vote against extending unemployment benefits. I recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of being laid off from my job in the real estate industry. Though I was only out of work for three months, I count myself among the blessed and lucky few who were able to obtain a new job so quickly. Many South Carolinians are not so lucky. In my time in the unemployment office, I saw people from all walks of life who were out of work and desperate. Unemployment is still very high, and if you are really working for South Carolinians, you would support our unemployment benefits, especially when our state has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.
I can assure you, the benefits are not so cushy as to keep anyone from seeking a job. It was a fraction of what I made when I was employed, and I would not have been able to survive had I not had a spouse who was still employed. My unemployment wouldn’t have even covered COBRA for my health insurance which I lost when I lost my job.
I’m deeply disappointed and can’t help but feel that you took this terrible stand to get attention. Please don’t seek attention at the expense of out-of-work people in our state. Please be an advocate for the people who need you, particularly the unemployed who have been hit so hard by this economic downturn, especially as the holidays approach.
Here’s hoping he actually reads it, but at least I feel better knowing I tried to tell my representative how I feel.