July 25, 2016
Pam Livengood and her family have been personally affected by the growing substance abuse epidemic and are guardians for their grandson because of their daughter’s struggle with addiction. Pam raised the issue with Hillary while participating at a roundtable during the first trip to New Hampshire.
For my fiftieth birthday, I got a two year-old. You see my daughter and her boyfriend had a beautiful little boy named Francis, but they got caught up in drugs. It started with the pain medication she was given after Francis was born. And it just got worse. It's hard to explain just how devastating it is to watch your child struggle with substance abuse. I know my daughter loved Francis, but love wasn't enough to take care of him. I started getting calls from Child Services. And one day, they said Francis would be taken away from my family and put in foster care, unless he had family who could take care of him. There was no way we were going to let our grandson end up in foster care.
So Francis lived with my husband John and I until he was five. He lives with his grandfather now, who is on disability. And when you're my age, you don't expect to start all over again raising a grandchild.
Today, my daughter's in treatment, but she has a long road ahead of her. My story isn't unique -- this epidemic has devastated communities all over the country. It doesn't discriminate against age, race, gender, or income. It affects all of us. But sometimes it feels like folks in Washington don't hear these stories.
Well last year, Hillary Clinton came to New Hampshire for a roundtable at my workplace. And she asked if addiction had touched any of us. And as I told my story, Hillary listened. She even took notes. And then she did something else we don't see a lot of in Washington. She took action. She came up with a plan. One that includes everything from reducing overdoses to expanding access to treatment. To me, that's the kind of leader we need. We need a leader who listens to the voices of ordinary Americans, a leader who treats people with compassion and respect. A leader who believes, that as Americans, we look out for each other. I'm not saying that leader has to be a grandmother, but it sure helps. For me that leader is Hillary Clinton.