Vangie Williams, a mother of six, was facing foreclosure and a pile of medical bills for her 2-year-old daughter’s rare lung condition when she wrote to her congressman. She wanted help. But she got a form letter, she recalled.
The experience was one of many that convinced the Virginia Democrat several years later to challenge 1st District Republican Rep. Rob Wittman on a platform that includes paid leave so families caring for sick relatives can avoid some of the impossible financial decisions that she faced. She and her husband ended up tapping out their retirement accounts and losing their home, she said.