OPINION

'I may be forced to leave': She's 75 and struggling. She has a message for Kansas senators and representatives.

By Alberta Miller
Special to Gannett Kansas
Alberta Miller

I’ve lived and worked in Lakin my entire life. My parents raised me and my siblings on a farm. We were never rich, but they put food on the table and made ends meet.

After 75 years in this town, I can no longer manage and may be forced to leave.

I retired 13 years ago after a 35-year career at the bank, first as a teller and then as a bookkeeper. I loved it and also had a part-time job with my church. Since the pandemic, my only source of income has been Social Security checks.

I live a simple life. Every day, I wake up, eat breakfast, say my prayers and tend to the house. I live alone, and I’m content. But the stress is mounting — I am struggling to keep up, and the bills keep piling up.

Food has gotten more expensive and so has gas for my car. I am lucky to have health insurance, but the cost is taken out of my Social Security check each month, which means my checks are lower and I’m behind on my life insurance. I’ve fallen so behind on my phone, internet and electricity, they are on the brink of being turned off.

I’m running out of options and may have to sell my home to catch up.  

I wish politicians in Washington would listen to people like me and realize my story isn't uncommon. I’m a hard-working American and never thought I’d be in this position. 

I’m a registered Democrat because my parents were, but I voted for Trump in 2020. It felt like he was a champion for the values my parents found in Democrats back then: elected officials working for working people. Now, it seems like too many in both parties are working for themselves — that’s the only logical explanation for why they wouldn’t support investments in jobs and families. 

It’s simple. We need politicians to support everyday Americans.

We need to lower the cost of the basics, especially utilities. We also need universal broadband access — living alone, the internet is my best connection to other people. 

Kansas senators and representatives: It’s time to start working for working people. It’s time to bring good jobs back to Kansas and make life more affordable. It’s time to pass the infrastructure bill and to invest in America. 

Alberta Miller lives in Lakin and is a member of the nonprofit advocacy group, WorkMoney.