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The essay about a working mom and a grandmother, Melissa Gilbert that already has run for Congress in 2015 to fight for the children and families of Michigan. At a time when career politicians in Congress have stacked the deck against working families, Melissa, a community advocate, will be a voice for the people of Michigan.
Melissa is deeply involved in Michigan’s 8th congressional district. A small business owner, she lives in Livingston County with her husband, Tim. Together, they run a small production company, Grand River Productions.
Melissa landed her first big acting job at age nine playing Laura Ingalls Wilder on Little House on the Prairie. She later went on to become president of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) for four years, representing over 100,000 workers across the country. While there, she strengthened laws protecting child actors and protected and expanded retirement and health care benefits for retirees. While President of SAG, she also served on the AFL-CIO Executive Council and fought for millions of working families in the United States.
Hardworking and committed, Melissa hopes to use her voice to help make a difference for everyday Michiganders. She’ll fight to increase incomes for working families, ensure that companies provide paid sick and family leave to their workers, make sure every child has access to state-of-the art education, and ensure women receive equal pay for equal work and can continue to make decisions about their health care. Melissa will be an advocate for all working families in Michigan, not just a select few.
Build a 21st Century Economy and Create Good Paying Jobs
Michigan was once one of the wealthiest states in the nation, with major economic hubs that offered working families good paying jobs, competitive benefits, state of the art public education, and quality healthcare. But our great state has been hit hardest by the great recession, and the pro-worker policies that once made us the envy of the nation have been stripped away by politicians who put corporations above people. Now, working families, especially women, are paying the price.
Melissa understands that working families in Michigan are hurting. Their incomes are stagnant, women still earn a fraction of what men make, and young people are graduating with mountains of student loan debt. She’s running for Congress to help all the families who are struggling in today’s economy.
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Melissa believes our economy is strongest when we focus on working people. She put those ideas into practice when she served as President of one of the largest worker unions in the nation. In that role, she strengthened protections for workers and expanded benefits for retirees. She knows that restoring the economic engine of Michigan means ensuring that working families have access to good jobs and quality public education. It means:
- Raising the minimum wage so working families can make ends meet
- Ensuring equal pay for equal work
- Tackling student loan debt and making college more affordable for families
- Making sure trade deals are good for our workers, and opposing bad trade deals that hurt our economy
- Investing in infrastructure to boost interstate and international commerce
- Providing economic incentives to small business to ensure long-term success
- Training and educating the next generation of workers and entrepreneurs
Make Quality Public Education a Top Priority to Preserve Our Children’s Future
Quality public education is at the heart of a strong economy — from pre-K all the way through college. Melissa will fight to set our kids up for future success by putting their education first.
While politicians like Mike Bishop have slashed education funding and left our kids shortchanged, Melissa will fight for strong schools. After raising four boys, and now a grandmother, she proudly stands with Michigan educators, who are key to giving our children the quality instruction they need to succeed.
If we’re going to fix our system of education, we’ll need a new approach, led by an outsider who knows the struggles of working parents. Melissa will fight for working mothers and fathers to ensure their children have access to quality public education and a bright future. That means fighting to ensure:
- Our kids get a head start by making sure families have access to quality, affordable pre-Kindergarten
- Teachers have the resources they need to do their jobs and help our kids
- College students have access to Pell grants and other student-aid, so they aren’t graduating with mountains of debt
Improve the quality of life for women & working families in Michigan
Women’s issues are family issues. In many Michigan households, women are the primary or sole breadwinners – and yet, they continue to make a fraction of what men earn in this country, and still lack access to affordable healthcare. That’s unacceptable.
As a working mother, Melissa knows all too well the struggles that women in this economy have to go through. In Congress, she’ll fight to level the playing field for women and working families in Michigan by ensuring:
- Equal pay for equal work is a reality for all Michigan women
- Women have access to quality affordable health care, including mammograms and cancer screenings
- Companies offer paid sick and family leave to their employees
- Protecting a woman’s right to make her own healthcare decisions
Protect and Expand Social Security and Medicare
In this economy, seniors are facing an uncertain future. Over and over again, Washington politicians have pursued draconian cuts to Social Security and Medicare – cuts that would leave seniors out in the cold.
Melissa believes our word is our bond, and that we must honor our commitments to our seniors. While Republicans in Washington try to cut Social Security and end Medicare as we know it, Melissa will fight to expand Social Security and get seniors the healthcare they need. She’s fought these battles before for retirees, and in Congress she will fight to:
- Expand Social Security and protect it from privatization schemes
- Oppose any effort to raise the retirement age
- Protect Medicare for all seniors and ensure they have access to affordable care
Serve those who fought for our country
We owe a great debt to our nation’s veterans. Melissa knows that first hand. Melissa’s dad served during World War II, and joined the USO to go to Vietnam. He honorably fought for this country. When Melissa was young, her dad took his life. Her dad was in great pain, and the VA did not have the resources to give him the care he needed.
Even today, many of our veterans continue to be neglected. This is a personal fight for Melissa – she’ll take on the establishment and fight for those who fought for our nation, and our freedoms. While that means holding accountable those at the top, it also means reforming the system to give our veterans the care and support they earned and deserve:
- Set a goal of ending veterans homelessness by 2020
- Fully fund the VA and hold them accountable for eliminating the backlog of care
- Provide veterans the job training and transition services when they get home so they and their families can thrive
www.melissa-gilbert.com , 2016
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