Wayne Co. lawmaker hires unemployed constituent to do yard work - WNCN: News, Weather

Wayne Co. lawmaker hires unemployed constituent to do yard work

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By Jackie Faye

There is new hope for thousands of unemployed workers going without benefits. Lawmakers have reached an agreement that retroactively extends benefits to 37,000 people.

One of those workers took her job search to a local lawmaker and got an interesting answer.

In an email, Kathryn Treadway told Rep. Stephen Laroque, R-Wayne County, "You people are a joke. You act as if it were that easy. Like oh, just go find a job, here's a list. How about this sir. How about you find someone willing to hire me."

Representative LaRoque obliged and hired Treadway to work in his front yard. 

"I sympathize with everybody who is trying to find work who is truly out beating the bushes, knocking on doors and trying to find the jobs. Some folks I don't believe are doing that," says LaRoque.

Treadway disagrees. The valedictorian of her high school class and UNC graduate says she has been applying for jobs but the doors are not opening.

Treadway lost her job last year, then her unemployment benefits were cut off in April when they expired because the state did not take action.

"I feel like everybody has the wrong idea about these people who need these extended benefits, we are not asking for a simple handout, we are asking for hand-up," says Treadway.

Rep. LaRoque took Treadway's job search into his own hands and told her of several openings in the area.

"Maybe she should try Sanderson Farms which is a processing plant in Kingston, according to a website I went to they had 191 openings," says LaRoque.

Treadway says she had already applied there with no luck, and after eight heated emails, LaRoque decided if Treadway really wanted a job he would hire her to work in his yard for $8 an hour.

"I think he really thought I wasn't going to show and I was determined to do the best job that I could, to show him I was not one of the lazy constituents he was trying to say I was," said Treadway.

But the arrangement did not exactly work out, and after an hour, LaRoque says Treadway quit.

LaRoque also says Treadway was on the phone while she was supposed to be working. Treadway says she took one phone call.

LaRoque does small business loans now, but says he has had his fair share of odd jobs to pay the bills.

"From that being my experience, I feel like others should be doing the same thing," says LaRoque.

Laroque said he was honestly hoping the arrangement would work out and that he planned to give Treadway a raise and recommendations if it did.

More than 2,000 people lose their benefits each week unless lawmakers approve an extension.

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