Randy Bryce: What Working People Face

By Randy Bryce

I’ve been asked why I’m running for Congress several times on the campaign trail. The truth is, moving to Washington and becoming “Congressman Bryce” wasn’t something on my bucket list. But I kept hearing stories from friends and neighbors about the pain and hardship that people were facing ― and these stories hit home because they were often circumstances I’ve experienced myself and have worked to overcome.

When people asked me to run against Paul Ryan, it was clear that those folks were looking for someone who understood what it was like to be a working person trying to make ends meet.

It’s fair to say that working people are underrepresented in Congress ― Paul Ryan certainly doesn’t understand what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck, to have to choose between food and paying your bills, or to literally be faced with life and death decisions with no health insurance.

But I do understand. I’ve survived some really awful times and it’s time there’s someone in Congress who knows what everyday people are going through.

I know what it’s like to work 100 hours a week, doing hard, manual labor ― because I’ve done it.

I know the fear and uncertainty of having a serious disease ― cancer ― and no health insurance. Because I have been there.

I know what it’s like to be fighting for your life while watching your world crumble around you. Because 17 years ago, I had to file for bankruptcy when my mounting medical bills and other debt became too much to bear.

I know what people are facing, and that’s exactly why I jumped into this race.

Sadly, my story is not unique. Thousands of people across Wisconsin have experienced the same soul-crushing decision to file for bankruptcy. It’s just wrong. I was very lucky to be able to resolve my case over a few years, but not everyone is that fortunate. As a veteran, I know some of the hardest hit by this crisis are the brave men and women who have served our country only to have the system turn its back on them. It’s gone on too long, and it’s not something I will stand by and continue to watch.

I know what it’s like to look your child in the eyes and have to explain that your job has changed and times were going to be tight for a while. I had to do it, and I fell behind on my child support payments.

Thankfully, my son’s mom and I were able to work together, putting our son first, and we made a plan to ensure all his needs were met in the fastest way possible. But kids shouldn’t suffer because parents fall on hard times. We have to do better, and I believe we can.

The Republican attack machine is in full gear. That’s ok -– I’ve survived much worse.

It breaks my heart that these stories are as common as they are, right here in Southeastern Wisconsin and across the country. It’s scary being in these situations. You’re a nervous wreck, you’re ashamed you can’t protect and take care of your family, and you don’t know how you’re going to claw your way back. Like so many people, I can say that I’ve had to borrow money from friends and family in tough times.

That’s the thing about working families ― we know how to work together and lift each other up. It’s that sense of shared community that I want to bring to Congress.

Working people and families are facing tough times like this all over the country, and now Republicans are trying to give millionaires and billionaires more tax cuts while telling us that we can’t pay for education or Medicare for All, or anything else that would help families struggling to make ends meet.

The Republican attack machine is in full gear, obviously spreading my record around to hit me for having the same economic problems that millions of people struggle with every single day. That’s ok -– I’ve survived much worse. I’m grateful to have come out on the other side of some incredibly hard times ― but I know many, many more have not been so lucky. Part of the reason is that the system is rigged against them, and it’s time for that game to stop. While I’m not perfect, I can promise that I will do everything in my power and work every single day to ensure we start looking out for the 99% instead of the wealthy few.

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