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For Dad, GM was opportunity

While I recognize California is pretty removed from the U.S. automobile industry, it is a pretty important industry to many folks like myself who grew up in a General Motors, Chrysler, or Ford home in the midwest. You might spot me at the gym or walking downtown on the weekends with a Detroit shirt featuring a GM logo because I remain a cheerleader for the U.S. auto industry that helped my dad step up from the poverty of Appalachia in eastern Kentucky to a comfortable middle class living despite dropping out of school before entering the 9th grade. By the way, I would never assume I’m smarter than a person who dropped out of school …. my father can fix anything, and I mean anything, that breaks because that is his talent.

At any rate, there was a nice commentary in the Detroit Free Press today written by a fellow General Motors family member that does a good job of expressing what GM meant to our fathers. I hope it provides a different point of view from what you have read in the past and helps you to understand the frustration of General Motors, Chrysler, and Ford family members who observe billions of dollars going to the AIGs and Citigroups of finance while the auto companies seem to be receiving a cold shoulder.

When I visit my roots in Appalachia, I’m very quickly reminded how fortunate my life has been due in large part to my dad’s decision to head to Michigan in the 1960s to take a job with General Motors on the assembly line. I never had to starve. I never had to hope the flu or other sickness would pass because I lacked healthcare insurance. I never had to limit my educational opportunities to a local community college because the expense of higher institutions was out of reach. I never had to limit my job prospects to breathing in coal dust, stuck working in a 3 foot high hole in a coal mine. I had almost unlimited opportunities because General Motors and the UAW agreed that the hard working folks in the auto plants deserved a living wage. I’m very thankful for GM this Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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