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A Gas Price Story from Outside the Bubble

08/06/2008

It's easy to forget how real people live and what they care about outside the DC bubble - this is such an unnatural city, growing up around government and not industry, transportation, or any kind of port like most cities historically are.

On the floor, one conservative congressperson after another had been able to hold up their constituent mail full of sad stories of lost jobs, and opportunities on hold due to skyrocketing energy costs.

Here's how fuel prices are affecting one person close to FreedomWorks.

My brother, Davis - 17, is a drum major for the Williamsport Area High School Marching Millionaires - an ironic name given that they are rapidly running out of funds.  Years before he reached high school, he watched me march with my saxaphone and dreamed of being in the band, and on that podium conducting a field of over 100 musicians.  He took up the drums and later the tuba and mellophone.  A dedicated band member, he rapidly rose through the ranks in this competitive band to become section leader, and now at the end of his high school career - drum major.

Davis has put years of time and practice into achieving this dream.  Now, his final season is threatened because of high gas prices.

Here, from the keyboard of Davis, is the story of how high gas prices are impacting his life:

After a successful marching season in the fall of '07 we received several fuel surcharges from our busing  and trucking companies.  These charges were well over $10, 000, a staggering figure for a program that receives no help from the school district and relies primarily on fundraising done by the students and parents.  Add to that disappointing concession stand revenue thanks to a poor attendance at football games , a nationally ranked indoor drumline season also requiring expensive buses and a rained out fundraising carnival, the band was scraping the bottom of the barrel for funds.

This upcoming season we have had to schedule competitions closer to home to avoid long distance travel, losing the high profile appearances required for an impact on the national level.  This makes for a disappointing season for the seniors who will leave the program with a less than fulfilling experience.

We have had to up our fundraising to a point where the students are getting burned out selling sandwiches, washing cars, etc.  all for  nickels and dimes.  I have been sending letters to local leaders and people of influence asking for financial assistance and others have been looking for corporate sponsors to help take the gas burden  off our minds.   Unfortunately, with all of our work, we are still faced with the decision of which competitions to drop from our competitive schedule and still live up to the overwhelming tradition held by the Marching Millionaires.

There are tons of stories like that out there, most far more dire than Davis's disappointing senior year.  Yesterday, Rep. Garrett from NJ urged people to send their stories to PainAtThePump@mail.house.gov.