"I know what it is like to be part of the labor force. My first job, at 15, was pouring concrete driveways and sidewalks with my neighbor for minimum wage. This allowed me to have spending money that my parents were not able to provide. I went on to work many jobs in many fields, including security, mental health, retail, food service, and construction (installing granite counter tops, laying paving stones, framing, roofing, minor plumbing, and electric work). I have quite literally been in the trenches in temperatures exceeding 110 degrees to make barely over minimum wage. The entire time I was told that this is the way it was supposed to be, that if you work hard, you can make it ahead. So I continued working hard...
"Time passed and I had not grown rich, despite working 8 to 10 hours a day in the blistering sun with a two hour commute one-way, having no free time. My life was eat, sleep, work, repeat. I decided to go back to school, and after trying my hand in networking and auto body, I finished up my general education and went to Sacramento State to earn a degree in Political Science (Government). When I graduated, the Great Recession had hit with full force. No one was hiring. I had just finished up an internship with AFSCME California, and found myself unemployed.
"For 6 months, I lived off of $800 a month in unemployment benefits, in an aging house with three other men who were in similar situations. I sent out hundreds of applications, while I heard pundits on the news talking about whether they should extend unemployment benefits. I could not drive my car, because I could not afford gas or insurance. I took public transportation everywhere, and learned how inefficient the local bus system was for getting to work.
"Finally, I was called back for an entry-level job with the State of California. Since that day I have worked my way up to an executive position in legislative analysis, where I have worked the last several years.
"My experiences are branded into my conscience, and I will not soon forget the struggles that my family, and that I experienced, just trying to survive. I want to bring that life experience to the U.S. Senate, where I would be honored to represent the working class who still face severe hardships on a daily basis."
- David Hildebrand