Americans for Tax Reform is collecting personal testimonials of Americans hit by President Biden’s executive actions. (If you would like to submit a short video, please send it to Mike Mirsky at [email protected]).
Please watch this video from Kasey, a member of Pipeliners Local Union 798:
“We were directly affected, well just a little history first. I married my highschool sweetheart. We have three children. Brady is our oldest, he is soon to sew on his tech sergeant stripes in the Air Force. Our son Tucker is our middle child. He is going to college to become a commercial airline pilot and he’s also a ground supervisor at Delta down in Minneapolis. And then we have our daughter Trinity is 14 and we’re still raising her. These so-called temporary jobs have been our way of life since the day my husband and I were married, even before then. He graduated, his mom bought him luggage to go to college and he got all his graduation money. Well he took that graduation money, bought my engagement ring and proposed to me, took the luggage and went pipelining. That’s how our story began with pipelines. He started out as a laborer and he decided he wanted to further himself. So he spent one whole winter, 8 hours a day 5 days a week, out in our garage teaching himself how to weld. Well he took that test next spring and he became a welder and it just changed our life, financially for sure. And then he was offered another opportunity and he became a 798 union member, and that was one of the best decisions we ever made. 798 has been so good to us and you’ll find out why throughout my story. After a few years of doing that, you know, he said ‘hey, why don’t you come be my helper?’ and I was like ‘hey, yeah I think I’d like that’ cause my husband and I have a very close relationship. So for 10 years we worked side-by-side, 24/7, together, 365 days a week, never had any major issues. We really enjoyed it. I enjoyed pipelining. My family grew, we’re a very close-knit group of people. There is some bad press out there about us, but I’m telling you guys not the people I hang with, not the people, the union I represent. We are held to an extremely high standard. Well, back to the story. So, you know, we built our dream home here on the Lene land and everything was going great. Well in 2018 September I was on a job, the gas company was Northern Natural down in the cities, Minneapolis Saint Paul area. I was getting ready for work one morning and I noticed a lump in my right breast. I tried to brush it off, you know I got to work. That’s the mentality of pipeliners, we work hard. And I brushed it off, but something was nagging at me. Long story short I went to get it checked out and it was stage three breast cancer. Boy, talk about your world getting turned upside down. But through the grace of it, was that we had insurance through our union, 798. So, by the grace of god, so thankful, we didn’t have to pay hardly anything for my cancer journey and I had to do the whole thing. I did the chemo, and one chemo treatment was $24,000 just for the medicine itself. I had 16. I had three surgeries. I went through six weeks of radiation five days a week. Not to mention all of the scans, MRIs, specialist, I mean I’m sure I’m a million dollar case. And by having these good temporary union jobs, we had an amazing health insurance plan. Where through that cancer journey, not only did we lose my $65,000 a year income cause of my cancer, but then my husband had to be there to help take care of me so we lost his welding income, but by the grace of god we had this insurance through our union from all the hours we had worked that pretty much paid for my cancer treatments, thank god. We had to pay our deductibles, but then we have an HRA account that covered that. But our insurance is based on hours that we work. So, long story short, had cancer, thank god for my 798 union insurance, that we worked for, through our hours we worked through the years. Then COVID hits. Well my husband can’t find work, I’m still not quite healthy enough to go back to work. Praise God I’m in remission, you know all that. COVID hits, can’t find work, things slow down, so he only worked four months that year. So our insurance is starting to go down because we haven’t worked hours. Well then, we finally got on the Keystone XL in October of this year. And we were so excited, we were finally getting back on our feet. We took our whole family, we loaded up, and we went down to Ada, Oklahoma. Stayed in a wonderful campground, met new family members I love. It was going great. I was at home, in the camper watching the inauguration happening when my husband called me at 2:00. And he says ‘babe, start packing up the camper, we’re going home’. I said ‘what are you talking about’. He said ‘Biden shut it down’. I said ‘what’. He said ‘Biden shut it down’. I said ‘but he just got into office you know’. We only had like maybe six weeks left on that particular job. Yes, we knew that, but that’s twenty grand that we lost out, twenty to thirty grand that we lost out in six weeks. And, there was potential that he was going to go to Montana and do another job come April for the Keystone, and since he was already tested you know it would have been a great opportunity. We were just getting back on our feet after cancer, COVID, and then now the Commander in Chief. So we were hit by the three C’s. He was getting ready to do a 24 inch weld, getting it lined up, getting ready to go, completely left it, job done, shut down. Now not only financially does that scare me, but for my health. Now, we have a few hours built up that will maybe get us through maybe a month or two of insurance, but if my husband can’t find work soon, then I will not be able to continue making sure I stay in remission. I will not be able to afford those scans or MRIs that have to be done to guarantee or the ultrasounds or the bloodwork. I’m going to lose all that. Those of you who say ‘oh you can go on Medicare’ it’s not the same quality of care. In fact, my oncologist wouldn’t even have probably accepted me if I had not had the insurance I had. I picked a good oncologist, it was particular. I mean this is my life we are talking about. Stage three is only one stage away from stage four. So by Biden doing this, he affected more than he knows. He affected possibly my health, my future, our livelihoods, my children’s futures, not to mention the countless co-workers’ futures were affected, the campground we stayed at. They were making, when we left, they probably lost four grand a month, just off us pipeliners. I don’t understand, I’m confused, I’m hurt, I’m scared, I’m angry because this is more than just a financial thing for my family, this is a health crisis thing. If we cannot work, we cannot have insurance. I am begging this administration to please consider these things. The oil is still being transported in on rail or truck. It’s still coming into America, people. Why not do it by a pipeline? It costs $30 a barrel to ship it by rail, $10 a barrel by pipeline. Yes, I understand there’s been leaks blah blah blah this and that well I’ve seen a pipeline built, maintained, in process the technology is out of this world now. Things are completely different then when they built them. That’s why Line 3 was so important. Let’s get that old line that is not as up to code, up to standard, up to technology and let’s replace it with the new, advanced technology we have where if there’s a problem we know in an instant. These pipelines are monitored 24/7. Come to Clearbrook, Minnesota we have two tank farms. We have Coke, which I don’t know if there’s still Coke they might have changed their name, and we have Inbridge. I have worked in both stations. I have seen rehabs, I have seen how it all works. The environmental, the testing every weld my husband makes, is 100% x-rayed and if he misses three, he loses his job. Every job he gets, every single job he takes, on these temporary jobs that he’s been doing for 27 years, he has to test and if does not pass that test he does not get that job. There is no safer to transport this oil than via a pipeline. You cannot convince the other way. Do I believe that green energy has a place? Absolutely. But like my fellow 798 member Neal Crabtree said, ‘we have to have that balance, we need both’, and right now his decision is affecting a lot of lives more than he realize, and I feel the blood is on his hands. I thank you for the time to let me tell my story. I pray for this nation, and again I’m just devastated by the decision of this administration to cancel the Keystone pipeline XL. I really really wish that he would reconsider. For the safety and well being of my family, and hundreds of other families that I know personally. So that is my story, sorry to make it a little long, but I am passionate about it. So, God bless”