I am a veteran and an immigrant. I love this country, I love this state. But our healthcare system? It’s completely broken.

I grew up in Uganda, and during political upheaval there, I lost both my parents and one of my sisters. I had family here in Maine, and moved when I was 22. I joined the National Guard, and I enrolled in the University of Southern Maine. I was eventually accepted as a project engineer for Cianbro. I felt like I achieved the American Dream.

Then, one of my sisters who still lived in Uganda fell ill. I knew I had to return to care for her. When she recovered, I returned home to Maine. I had no job, and therefore, no insurance.

Finding out that health insurance was tied to our employers was one of the biggest shocks of moving here. In Uganda, some hospitals are run by the government and care is always available and affordable. Paid leave is a given when it comes to caring for family.

I’m back working now as a project manager at Bath Iron Works, and have just welcomed a baby boy into our family. I hope that, when he gets older, our healthcare system will be affordable and accessible, no matter what.

David Katende, Lisbon Falls

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