In Oberlin, we know our neighbors


To the editor:

Our elected representative, Jim Jordan, recently co-authored an article in “The Hill.” The article was titled “No more excuses, Republicans,” and in it, Jordan describes a scenario that is so far from the community that I know that I felt compelled to write this letter and set the record straight.

In this article, Mr. Jordan describes two adults, a second-shift worker and a second grade teacher who both live in the same neighborhood as a man they believe to be receiving federal assistance. Rather than be concerned for their neighbor, who has fallen on tough times, both are angry and resentful of him when they see him drinking coffee on his porch.

Now, I don’t know about Mr. Jordan’s neighborhood, but in this corner of the 4th Congressional District in the state of Ohio, we know our neighbors. When I leave my neighborhood every morning for work, I wave at them. I don’t feel resentful if they are drinking coffee on their porch, or if they work fewer hours than me. In Oberlin, if they’ve lost a job, or are under-employed, there are many people willing to support them through it. I work in the public schools. I love our students and work hard to serve them. Over 50 percent of our students receive free or reduced priced lunch. Over 500 families a month receive food from Oberlin Community Services. I don’t begrudge them that, instead, I am grateful they have food. I am also grateful that I live in a town where the public and private sectors work together to aid our distressed neighbors. I don’t presume to speak for my colleagues, but personally, I am glad my tax dollars are spent in this way.

Jim Jordan’s article deeply offended me, because he is the person assigned to represent our district. He references his desire to protect “religious freedom” but disregards my religious obligation to “love thy neighbor as thyself.” Clearly, Jim Jordan needs to reconnect with his sense of small town values and community.

As a place to start, I invite him to visit Oberlin.

Katie Hayes