I see it all over Mesa, and I see it among the members of my family: The Covid pandemic is a lot more than a health crisis. It’s also a financial crisis that has been taking a major toll on our community.
Employers have been closing all over town. My sister’s business had to shut down. I am a single mother of three, and my oldest child is 27 years old.
Neither my eldest nor her boyfriend can find decent-paying jobs. And as people in Mesa struggle to find work that pays the bills, the cost of living keeps going higher and higher. Housing prices have been especially on the rise, utility rates are always going up and prescription drug prices have been increasing a lot, which places a huge burden on senior citizens — and also sends the overall cost of living higher for the entire community.
While I am deeply disappointed by the government’s failure to fix these problems, I will admit that some government policies have been helping to ease the pain. It was great, for example, when we received our emergency stimulus checks.
And my family — and families throughout the Mesa area — have benefited a lot from the Child Tax Credit. I have an 11-year-old son, and the credit helps me provide for him. Like anyone, it breaks my heart to see children go poor and hungry in Mesa or anywhere in America. That’s why I think this tax credit has been a blessing.
So, what can an average citizen do to persuade the government to do more to help us? How can we get Washington to step up?
Well, I consider myself a good citizen. I vote, but I don’t always stick to a straight party line. For example, I voted for President Donald Trump in 2020, yet I also think our Democratic senator, Kyrsten Sinema, has been doing a good job for Arizona.
We’re now in a moment when we simply cannot afford for the politics as usual of Washington to hold us back. Congress is debating a jobs bill and a budget bill, which have been projected to create millions of new jobs for the American economy. That’s just the kind of boost Mesa needs.
The budget bill would also significantly lower the cost of prescription drugs, and expand Medicare to include dental, visual and hearing coverage. Washington must adopt these policies, which would provide huge financial relief to our community’s senior citizens.
For the sake of our country’s children, I also strongly support the extension of the Child Tax Credit, which Congress is also considering as part of the budget proposal. And to help control our cost of living, I support the budget’s plan to lower utility costs and to offer a number of new policies that will make housing more affordable.
Senator Sinema, you’ve been a fresh voice in Washington so far. Now I ask you to step forward and help America overcome the economic crisis triggered by COVID. I urge you to support the jobs bill and the budget bill.
Mesa will thank you, Arizona will thank you, and America will thank you.
Cynthia Valero is a single mother of three and resident of Mesa.