The Norman Transcript

March 19, 2013

Do what it takes to stop furloughs

The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:

An open letter to Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore:

My husband works as an Equipment Specialist at Tinker Air Force Base. He has served the United States Air Force for 19 years (his entire adult life). In 2010 he received the Civilian of the Year award for his wing. One of the reasons for his nomination for this award was a change he implemented in scheduled maintenance to the B1 Bomber. This change was estimated to save the Air Force $6 million per year.

My husband has not received a cost of living raise since 2008. In 2011, he enrolled in a MBA program that was supposed to be paid for by the Air Force. The money never came and we were stuck with the bill. Budget cuts were the reason given.

This year his entire office cannot do their jobs to the best of their ability as they have no funding for traveling to other bases for meetings, inspection, collaborations, etc. Last week he was told that he would receive no performance bonus although he very much deserves one.

We have taken all of this in stride and are proud to serve our county. However, this Thursday, he is scheduled to receive his furlough notice, along with hundreds of thousands of other middle-class American workers.

This we will not take in stride.

We have two young children, a mortgage, and student loan payments. We serve our country, our community and our church in every way that we can. We are trying to save for our children’s education so that they are not faced with the same education debt that we have. I clip coupons. I work part-time evenings and weekend as a public librarian. We check out movies from the library rather than ever going to the theater.

We have already made the “tough sacrifices” and are stretched to the breaking point. In a world where milk is over $4 a gallon and gas is not far behind, a 20-percent pay cut from our government will do more than devastate our finances. It will devastate our morale.

Where is our county where honesty, loyalty and hard work are rewarded? Where is our country where you have a good chance of doing better that your parents and raising your children to do better than you

Is the new American Dream to struggle and barely get by all of our lives?

Representative Cole, I am asking you personally to do the right thing for my family and the families facing this crisis all over the country. Go to the table, listen more than talk, make compromises, do the right thing. It’s really the only option, isn’t it? Thank you for your time. Please feel free to contact me any time.

Julie Kreft


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