I am a constituent from Centerville, who, like thousands in Davis County and Utah, is struggling due to the pandemic and economic crisis.

I am a writer who worked incredibly hard to build my career. Before the crisis, I was able to put together multiple jobs to reach full-time employment. Now, I find myself left in that middle lurch due to being an independent contractor. On one hand, I don’t get anything from unemployment insurance. On the other, since I am not a business owner, I don’t get Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. The problem for me with accessing PUA benefits is that, at least in Utah, it asks for documentation that I don’t have since I’m not a business owner. Namely, I don’t have a general ledger and check register.

PUA absolutely must be expanded and extended past July. There are more than 10 million independent contractors in the United States and many often face challenges in receiving essential benefits due to having multiple part-time employers and piecing together compensation. It’s a lifeline.

Senators have a choice to make at the end of July. And what they choose to do goes beyond a decision made in the chambers of the Senate building. It will drastically affect millions. It is the difference between lights on, food on the table, and rent paid.

Sen. Mitt Romney must stand up and do the right, sensible, moral thing on behalf of the state he claims to love. He must extend unemployment benefits.

Rhett Wilkinson

Centerville

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