Monday, September 24, 2012

Betsy Cozzarin's Voice

Dear Mitt Romney—

I am a single mother of a freshman in college.  I care for my mother, who has MS, fibromyalgia and in the last week, a stroke.  I spent almost 3 years unemployed under George W. Bush and the economic policies that eliminated the need for my 15 years of recruiting skills.  I am now in my last 6 months of my Master’s work in Special Education, a career change that President Obama’s policies allowed me to make.  In spite of how my governor devalues education, I was finally offered a job teaching and finally have health insurance after almost 4 years of none.  I make less than half of what I made as a recruiter, and won’t be able to retire until I’m in my 80’s, but I am smarter and I’m a survivor.  I represent the 47% you so easily denigrate, Mr. Romney.

The only way my honor student can go to college is on scholarships and students loans because I had to spend my whole savings simply surviving.  I would have loved for my child to be able to borrow money from me to get her to college, but I don’t have stock options to cash in or a trust fund for her to utilize to get there.  I took a Parent Plus loan to make sure she could go to college.  Do I already have more than $50K in student loan debt?  Yes.  Could I really afford more in loans for her to go to college?  Probably not.  But under your policies, I couldn’t have even done that.  My child would have ended up waiting tables in order to survive, rather than getting a college education.  My own child would have ended up living in poverty as an adult. 

In the time I was unemployed, I fell down a flight of steps and broke my wrist, and waited to go to the emergency room for 3 days because of my lack of insurance.  I kept hoping it would “get better,” but it didn’t and now I have permanent damage to that wrist and arthritis that will be with me forever.  

When my mother had her stroke last week, I was grateful to the Medicare she has, but I still wonder how we will pay for her skilled nursing and rehabilitation after her 30 days of coverage under Medicare is done.  I am sure that the occupational, physical and speech therapy she will need to simply walk and talk again will take longer than 30 days to have any real effect, and I wonder if I will end up losing my house, since we bought the little 1,100 square foot house we live in together, my mother and me.  Does this make me dependent on the government?  Probably does.  Am I ready and happy to stay that way?  I may have to be.  I don’t know what the future holds, but I can tell you it is brighter with Mr. Obama in office than it is with your plan to tax me another $2000.

I am a single mother of a college freshman, caring for an elderly mother who has debilitating diseases and is recovering from a stroke.  I am a member of the “sandwich generation,” and a representative of the 47%.  And I’m proud of that.

Betsy Cozzarin

Betsy Cozzarin is a special education teacher at a charter school in Lake County, OH.  She lives in Mentor, OH and was a recruiter for 15 years before making a career shift to education.  She considered herself a moderate voter until Bush II came into office, at which point she became a full-fledged Democrat.  She is 47 and hopeful to someday actually retire, but who knows?