Thank you Congresswoman Shea-Porter

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Thank you Congresswoman Shea-Porter

Postby RD » Sat Aug 09, 2008 8:06 am

Shea-Porter's Legislative support aids Exeter family

EXETER — After taking action against an issue affecting her family, Exeter resident Leslie Tufts has seen the power of one.

Earlier this year, Tufts sent a letter to the offices of senators, congressmen and the U.S. Congress' Education Committee informing them of financial strains her family, and many others, face because of a loophole in the college financial aid system.

On July 31, the U.S. House passed the final version of the Higher Education Opportunity Act, which includes a provision from U.S. Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H., expanding the discretion of school financial aid administrators when assessing the financial needs of students.

The legislation will help families like the Tufts who support both a dependent adult and a college-age child.

Leslie and her husband, a local teacher, care for a 28-year-old disabled child and have spent many years saving money to provide him with when she and her husband "are gone."

Upon applying their younger son to college, the Tufts found that a family's financial obligations of caring for dependent adults has not been in consideration when assigning financial aid. Instead, their money saved was considered part of the family's total asset and to send their son to college they would have to compromise the savings they built for their dependent son.

"I am hoping it will directly affect the calculation of estimated family contribution because when any family has two children in college, if they simply state that on the application, their estimated family contribution is cut in half," Tufts said. "They go on to graduate, be productive members of society and make money. My child can't do that. It's almost like paying for college for life, not four years."

Tufts says she was inspired to do something not only for her own family, but the many others struggling to care for a college-age child and dependent child.

Trying to get a sense of people who would be impacted by this change, Tufts e-mailed friends in the Special Olympics and other programs.

"I got e-mails back saying, yes this will affect me, this is affecting me, I haven't gotten anywhere with colleges, please help," she said.

The issue hits close to home for Tufts and her family as her mother-in-law was president of the National School Boards Association and assistant secretary of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services in the Department of Education during the Ronald Reagan administration. She also founded New Hampshire Special Olympics.

"She was an amazing inspiration and really at the forefront of when things started to change for people with disabilities," Tufts said. "A woman who showed us that you can make a difference if you just stick with something."

Tufts credits Shea-Porter and her staff, particularly Chris Hillsheim, for making this difference.

When Hillsheim called to tell Tufts of the success of the act, she thanked him profusely, to which he responded. "It's what we do."

Shea-Porter said the Tufts' story resonated with her staff and that each member not only has to meet professional criteria but has to have a good heart and want to do what they can for people.

"We get a lot of stories, every story has a person behind it," Shea-Porter said. "That's the best part of this job, when you hear a story, to say, 'OK, I think we can do something about this.' It's really how you change the world, isn't it? Change it from your corner."
"If you think teachers are your enemy, you should probably reassess who you think your friends are." - Chris Larson
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Re: Thank you Congresswoman Shea-Porter

Postby platypusman » Sat Aug 09, 2008 11:29 am

This is confusing me because Shea-Porter voted against providing affordable health care to uninsured working families. (House Roll Call 10). This is very troubling.
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Re: Thank you Congresswoman Shea-Porter

Postby RBarnes » Mon Aug 11, 2008 9:44 am

She also voted to give full student loans to convicted felons (http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2007/roll029.xml).

Against increasing access to Pell grants for middle class families (http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2007/roll031.xml)

She voted against funding background checks for teachers to make sure we don't have sexual predators teaching in our schools (http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2007/roll685.xml)

And oddly 71% of those who read this bill RD is touting as such a good thing on Washington Watch voted that it's actually BAD...
http://www.washingtonwatch.com/bills/sh ... _2763.html I haven't read the full text of the bill myself so I couldn't tell you at this point what the details are or why people would be against it in such a large percent.
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