Update on Katrina-impacted life events---November 19, 2007\r\n\r\nAs Katrina advanced across the Gulf, my Navy pilot son called frantically again and again from Kuwait. I reassured him that we were not staying, and that motel rooms in northern Louisiana were reserved for us, his siblings, nieces, nephews and 3 grandparents. One of our sons went to Nashville with his wife, 3 young children, in-laws and dog packed into a van with room for little else. They are now living permanently in TN after losing all. Our 2 college senior sons when Katrina hit, have since graduated. One daughter gave birth to our 13th grandbaby two months after Katrina and is set to deliver #14 next spring. Our 5th-born married last June. Our youngest, paralyzed from Guillain-Barre\' and hospitalized for 5 weeks after Katrina, is doing okay. \r\n\r\nPrior to Katrina, I was happy to be wife, mom, grandmom and college teacher. 15 months after Katrina, as I passed through still grotesquely ravaged New Orleans East, things changed dramatically. I was powerfully moved to enter the political arena. I was not at all happy with the Iraq War, the Katrina insensitive fiasco, the unfair shake that our working men and women received, the reality that the richest nation in the world had so many medically uninsured citizens, the travesty of \"No Child Left Behind\", the disregard for protecting our environment, the band-aid approach to rebuilding our levees and restoring our wetlands, the erosion of our Constitutional rights, our border insecurity, illegal immigration, and fiscal irresponsibility. So not at all happy, I felt compelled to fight vocally and legislatively for our needs. We deserved a representative who would not accept no for an answer.\r\n\r\nAs I teach my hundreds of students every semester, if you do not like something, then quit whining, get off your duffs, and DO something about whatever is wrong. I am practicing what I teach, diving into the shark-infested waters of politics and becoming a Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives of Louisiana\'s 1st District. Representatives are not supposed to bend over backwards for big business. Big business certainly deserves representation, but not at the expense of the rest of us. Government is supposed to be of, by and for the people�not of, by and for a few large corporations and those who make over $200,000 a year. The pulse of the people has been ignored too long. It is time for change.\r\n\r\nLess than 3 months ago, we memorialized the 2nd anniversary of the worst disaster to hit an American city in all of U.S. history. And I am not talking about Hurricane Katrina which gave us a glancing blow. I am talking about the failure of the levees to protect us. I am talking about government\'s failure after the catastrophe to meet our most basic needs of food, water and refuge. I am talking about the continued neglect and roadblocks to our recovery. I am talking about a mindset of those in charge at the federal level which believes we must not rely on government for help. We do not want a hand-out, we want a hand-up. I still see destruction all around me. As I travel through the 6 parishes of District 1, I hear story after story of a resilient, proud people who are tired of being neglected and forgotten. The flood waters that ravaged New Orleans and Slidell and parts of Jefferson, did not reach Franklinton and Bogalusa, but they were hit hard all the same. These communities are gasping for air, too. \r\n\r\nSoutheastern and southwestern Louisiana is worth saving. Our rich culture, jazz, cuisine, party spirit and resiliency�all are worth saving. 40% of the nation\'s seafood is provided by Louisiana. 30% of the nation\'s oil passes through Louisiana pipelines. The port city of New Orleans and the mouth of the great Mississippi River are invaluable to the economy of the United States. We are also sitting on the promise of bio-fuel technology that has succeeded in Brazil for 30 years and is superior to corn--�sugar cane. And if the research being done now on algae conversion is as successful as that of sugar cane, we have plenty of that, too, to lessen our dependence on foreign oil. USA---you need Louisiana and you need New Orleans.\r\n\r\nI am a loyal American with progressive ideas and the backbone to defend them. I envision smart government not big government. Smart government enables its people to provide for themselves without unneeded giveaways. It manages funds more equitably. It reverses the class warfare policies in Washington that give tax breaks to the top 1%, and a raw deal to the other 99%. Smart government stays out of our bedrooms, out of our emails, telephone conversations and bank accounts, out of our right to responsibly own a gun. \r\n\r\nI will NOT stand by and watch these freedoms, protected by our Constitution, erode further. I will NOT stand by and watch fellow Americans suffer needlessly because those elected to protect and defend are too busy protecting their own profits. I will NOT cave under pressure. Our working men and women, our small business owners, our veterans, our senior citizens, our children need me. I have a voice and I am not afraid to use it. I am a strong newcomer who does not owe anybody anything.\r\n\r\nA staunch public school advocate, I support developmentally appropriate education that works�not more tests. College should be for anyone interested and willing to work for it while keeping up grades. I defend the Constitution and the rights of all Americans. I am an environmental protector of land, sea and air and have the political will to lessen global warming\'s impact. Affordable, accessible health care for every American is a must. No longer shall HMO\'s make medical decisions like drive-through mastectomies. Our senior citizens should be at the top of the Road Home list, and should never again have to choose between taking medicine and eating. Our military heroes should be supported the correct way by removing them from the raging civil insurgency in Iraq, and maximizing rather than cutting their benefits. (We should never have taken our eye off of Bin Laden.) Workers should have the right to form unions if they so choose, without fear of reprisal. I support a minimum wage increase and only those fair trade agreements that protect the rights of American workers. Our border bleed must be stopped as a matter of urgent national security. I am against a guest worker amnesty program. World respect must be earned back again with diplomacy and grit. \r\n\r\nEthics rather than corruption should be expected and demanded. The great state of Louisiana has been looked down upon too long. It is no longer acceptable for the nation to view us as corrupt. I want better documented funding at all levels�local, state and federal. Business as usual is over. It is time for change. Fiscal responsibility, pay-as-you-go, stretch every dollar�this is the type of government I want.\r\n\r\nMy grassroots campaign has been full-speed ahead for months in all 6 parishes (counties) of District 1. I meet great people every day, public officials as well as everyday folks. My large signs are popping up throughout the district, my state-of-the-art website receives thousands of hits monthly, MySpace and Facebook friends number in the thousands, and a national fundraiser/political consultant has joined our ranks. My bi-partisan appeal is apparent as Republicans ask for yard signs and donate. 2 of my hardest workers are Republicans. Just look what you have started Katrina!\r\n\r\nI am not going away! So, Times-Picayune, you may as well acknowledge me and begin printing my press releases.\r\n\r\nThis strong lady is quite used to adversity. I have never run from a fight, and I am not about to start now. If I can keep on ticking with a lifelong polio disability, if I can defend for years the rights of my 2 adopted children with disabilities, if I can survive the inhumane rigors of graduate school while raising 7 children, if I can teach thousands of college students and more classes than any of my colleagues while enjoying many grandchildren, then I am up for anything that an election or Congress can hurl my way. I am determined to make this world a better place in which to live and work and dream. It is time for change. WeNeedReed.com\r\n\r\nNothing irritates me more than when my patriotism is questioned. My father, husband and 2 sons are Navy men. My father Alvin Benjamin Werner served in WWII aboard the U.S.S. Salt Lake City during 3 harrowing years of sea and battle. My husband Carl S. Reed, Sr. served 4 ½ years as a Navy flight crewman. One son served as a Navy officer with deployments in Somalia and the Mediterranean. One young nephew scraped body parts off of streets outside of Baghdad for a year. My firstborn is a Navy Commander pilot and Commanding Officer of the West Pacific\'s Squadron Three Zero. Each are examples of commendable military service to country. Though I never wore a uniform, other than a Girl Scout one and a Cub Scout leader one, my support for my loved ones is testimony that I, too, am serving my country militarily. I applaud our military heroes. It is through their military efforts, and the efforts of so many before them, that I am allowed the freedom to state that I do not support the decisions of their Commander-in-Chief.\r\n\r\nEvery American can and should serve his/her country in whatever capacity possible. Before Katrina, I felt I was contributing to the health of my country by birthing, adopting and raising responsible citizens. 6 out of my 7 children have college degrees and several have earned Masters. Educating thousands of university students to maximize human development and potential is also an act of patriotism. This was all enough until Katrina. Now I am driven to an even larger task�a brighter future for my people and a government delivered back to them where it belongs.\r\n\r\nDemocracy in action! It is time for change. Katrina, look what you have done!\r\n\r\nGilda Werner Reed, Ph.D.\r\nCandidate for U.S. House of Representatives\r\nLouisiana 1st District

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“[Untitled],” Hurricane Digital Memory Bank, accessed December 6, 2022, https://hurricanearchive.org/items/show/33151.

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