Read my words, feel my story and act on my behalf.

Dear Senator Stabenow,

Your work on the Farm Bill has historically meant life and livelihood for millions of Americans. I hope you know your efforts are appreciated. Now a homeowner, I’m able to “stay-at-home” to take care of my two youngest children while my husband works as a VA nurse (and on his advanced degree). I spend a good deal of time working with the Great Start Collaborative, the Southwest Michigan Perinatal Quality Improvement Collaborative, and on other causes.

The only reason my former partner is debt free is because of Medicaid. Over a decade ago, when our baby was six months old, my ex was working in a full-time management capacity at a bar – but didn’t have health insurance. He had a heart attack. I was told just after his surgery was complete that he wouldn’t have lived if we hadn’t rushed him to the hospital. At that time, the only reason they proceeded with his surgery was because we had a baby. That allowed him to apply for Medicaid to cover the cost of his medical care. Without that coverage, he wouldn’t have been in a financial position to pursue a college degree and a career in Cyber Security.

Fast forward to my current relationship. My husband lost his job the week we were married. I was pregnant, covered by Medicaid at the time, and we lost the baby. Though we will always mourn our son, Oscar, it was through the experience of being in the hospital trying to save him, that my husband found a love of the nursing profession. Thanks to extended unemployment benefits (and Michigan Works), he was able to complete his training and now serves as a mental health nurse in the Battle Creek Veterans Association Hospital.

During those years, we also used SNAP. Early and avid users of “Double Up Food Bucks”, there’s no way we could have made our food budgets stretch into farmers markets, without that program. Now an enthusiastic urban farmer, it was such a momentous experience to be able to support our community while eating food that was so fresh it often smelled of virgin earth. Being able to plan a decent menu and buy what’s fresh was amazing. These programs helped keep our family together while I battled postpartum depression. Without them, my recovery would have been even more difficult. Thank you so much for listening Senator Stabenow. I hope that this, along with the stories from others, will encourage you to meet with the Michigan Safety Net Coalition. We all want to support and cultivate a strong social safety net that is responsive to the needs of the people, especially those impacted the most.

Gratefully,

 

Rebecca LaDuca
824 Newgate Road
Kalamazoo, MI 49006

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