Thursday, August 26, 2010

Portrait of a Struggling Town: Monroe City, MO

I am currently working as a waitress, while I Full Time RV, in the Mid West, in a town that President Obama visited not too long ago - eating at "Peggy Sue's" cafe (he ordered a cheese burger and took it to go), and sadly leaving the town as desolated as he found it.  This is NOT to imply that President Obama is responsible for this town's condition.  Rather, the town has stuffed many losses in a short time (between December of 2009-June 2010) including the closure of its biggest industries: Leggett and Platt the makers of car parts and other items (beds as well), Pace Industries (Die Casting), and The Intermet Corporation (Motor Vehicle Parts/Accessories).

When these three industries closed up and consolidated out of town, they left in their collective wake a mess, including high unemployment, and even higher utility prices for the rest of the residents of Monroe City and the surrounding area.  As Angie Griggs, a resident of Monroe City, put it while speaking to WGEM: "The worst thing will be people losing their houses, their cars, their way of life," which was exactly what happened. In June of this year, right about the time my husband and I arrived, Sheila Gosney, writing for The Lake Gazette, placed the unemployment rate for Monroe City at about 13.30 percent, compared to the national average of  8.50.

Of course, these figures do not not take into account the #99ers - that is, those who have been out of work for 99 weeks or longer, and now do not qualify for unemployment and are no longer counted or considered in unemployment statistics (what, do they disappear after the magic 99 mark?!).  The question I am left with is this: do towns like Monroe, City only garnish official presidential visits without also solutions?

I am only here for a short time, but my husband and I have gotten to know some of the people here and we care about them - as much as many may need government assistance, there needs to be job creation.  Yes the automotive industry took a hard hit, but if we as a nation focused on how we could create more concrete jobs where industry is created, rather than service positions only - places like Monroe City would have a better chance to survive. The key is job creation - this is a must.

__________ Articles cited for this post:

Gosney, Sheila.  (30 June, 2010).  "Struggling Economy Teaches a New Generation of Local Residents How to Save Money."  The Lake Gazette.  Accessed on 7/31/2010 at

NA. (4 June, 2009).  "Pace Industries in Monroe City to Close July 14."  WGEM.  Accessed on 7/31/2010 at

Websites and articles of interest:
99ers dot Net
The Lake Gazette
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