Dear Senator Levin
Being a good citizen, interested in the future progress of my current circumstances, I found it necessary to email my congressmen. I typed a little letter and sent it to every congressman and Senator that represents me in the State of Michigan. I also sent it to the few congressmen who allow comments from people in the state they do not represent. I received four emails back immediately thanking me for my comments.
The following is my original email.
I appreciate the time and interest you have shown to run for office and win your election. I would appreciate your time in hearing me out.
I am a seamstress. I work at a small clothing shop in Northern Michigan. I consider our shop to be the future of Michigan. It is an e-business. We employ local women in one of the most economically challenged Counties of the State.
I pay attention to the news, take great pride in the freedom of our nation, and am sickened to think that along with the other 27 women at my workplace I may lose my job. In this county, that is not good.
The current economic situation of Michigan, with high business taxes added to the threat of a worsening national economy threatens the livelihood and complete unemployment of all my fellow workers. President-elect Obama has proposed new spending to the tune of nearly 1 trillion dollars during his campaign, and has asked the advice of Governor Jennifer Granholm on economic matters. Also, there is the promise of many Democrats in Congress of allowing the Bush Tax Cuts to expire. Add to that the threat of minimum wage increasing . It will be not just difficult to make a profit, but impossible.
I do not fault the owner of our business, a woman who has built this dream from just an idea over 25 years ago. However, faced with the danger of higher taxation and the absolute threat of card-check, a nationally proposed Democrat legislation that will threaten her ability to do business, she may have no alternative but to find seamstresses somewhere else that do not have the demands of my beautiful State of Michigan.
Therefore, I am writing to you to ask you to stop any legislation that will totally cripple Michigan’s ability to thrive. Do not vote for more bailouts. Do not vote to increase taxes. Do not allow the Bush Tax Cuts to expire. Do not vote for legislation such as card-check. Do not follow Jennifer Granholm and Barack Obama into what may be the deepest of recessions or even depression. Fight new tax proposals. Conserve my money in the treasury, after all, I myself had to conserve every dime of my money when gas prices hit 4 dollars. The Federal and State Budgets are proposed by the leaders. It is up to you to stop them from ruining Michigan.
Jennifer M. Kuznicki
I received a response from Carl Levin a full two and one half weeks later. Here is his response.
Re: Your Concerns
Mon 12/08/08 10:31 AM
Dear Mrs. Kuznicki:
Thank you for contacting me about extending unemployment compensation benefits. Extending benefits is the fair and right thing to do.
As you may know, Michigan’s unemployment rate is one of the highest in the nation, and the economy has experienced dramatic job losses since President Bush took office. When Congress passed a bill to extend unemployment insurance for 13 weeks, which was signed into law on June 30, 2008, I argued that more assistance was necessary and pledged to continue the fight to secure an additional extension.
I am pleased that Congress has now acted to provide the needed additional aid for those in Michigan and around the nation who are struggling in these tough times. The extension that was signed into law on November 20, 2008, will provide a much needed unemployment insurance extension. This extension will ensure that out of work Americans in high unemployment states like Michigan will receive an additional 20 weeks of insurance, for a total of up to 59 weeks.
Extending unemployment insurance during times of recession is nothing new. Studies indicate that extending unemployment insurance during tough times provides the best return of economic benefits compared to other stimulus options, and this money can be distributed within weeks. Extending unemployment insurance is essential to providing much-needed support to those who have lost their jobs and are struggling to reenter the job market.
The number of unemployed is rising across the country. This legislation is but one step to protect American workers and their families. Much more must be done to stimulate our nation’s economy and to protect jobs in Michigan and elsewhere. I look forward to working with my colleagues, President-elect Obama and Michigan state officials in what I hope will be a bipartisan effort to assist with the recovery of Michigan’s economy and the economy of the nation as a whole. Thank you again for contacting me.
I showed this correspondence to an affluent member of my community and she noted, “Ha – this is great! I wonder which is worse: knowing that our senator sends out poorly programmed responses to our queries based on trigger words “I may lose my job”, or knowing that his staff member stopped reading after “I am a seamstress” or was it “northern Michigan” or maybe “we employ local women”.
The fact that the response from Carl Levin has absolutely zero to do with my concerns doesn’t phase me. After all, I think in his mind and in the mind of most Liberal Democrats, the answer to adversity is to roll over. I asked him to fight, and instead he wants to assure me that when I lose my job because of the actions of him and his colleagues as well as most of the Michigan delegation, that unemployment benefits will be extended until I wind up in line at the welfare office.
Not me, no way.
The problem is, that Senator Levin and his ilk just told me to give it up. I am a mom, a wife, and a daughter. Nobody tells me to roll over.