Politics is personal.
Even a small assist from a taxpayer funded program can make all the difference in a person’s life. I’m an example of that.
When I entered Marshall University during the Carter Administration, I had registered at the last minute after nearly giving up on the idea. I had no college fund, my parents had just divorced and moved away. At the time I could not see a way into college for myself, even though I had consistently made honor roll at Ona Junior High and Barboursville High School.
I was both amazed and thankful to find my government would invest in me and my future through an education grant (what used to be called the Basic Grant, now the Pell Grant program). I understood for the first time that government aid can be a hand up, not a handout. At a time of personal scarcity and insecurity, a few hundred taxpayer dollars not only allowed me to pursue a degree, but gave me dignity and a lifelong commitment to give back.
After Ronald Reagan was elected, federal student aid was cut drastically. I couldn’t maintain my car, had to go on food stamps for a short time, and was very lucky to successfully complete my last year of college through the kindness of a few generous people.
From then on, I realized the potentially life-changing impact of an election.
Raising our voices
Issues, insights and day-to-day adventures along the campaign trail