"Jim Bowman, director of the county's Economic Development Corporation, says some of the economic anxiety here is based not on measurable decay, but rather a perception that life is decaying," Galofaro writes. "There are plenty of jobs, but it's hard to find one that pays more than $12 an hour. Ambitious young people move away. Rural schools are dwindling, and with them a sense of pride and purpose."
Mark Berns, who owns a small-engine repair shop that he can barely keep open, told Galofaro, "If you ask anybody here, we'll all tell you the same thing: We're tired of living like this. I just hope we get the jobs back and the economy on its feet, so everybody can get a decent job and make a decent living, and have that chance at the American dream that's gone away over the past eight or 10 years. I'm still optimistic. I hope I'm not wrong."
Like many others, Marlene Kramer, who voted twice for Obama, voted for Trump because of the hope that a change could be better, Galofaro writes. Kramer, 54, has worked for 40 years, all hard jobs, and now works at a sewing shop where the biggest benefit is getting to sit, instead of being on her feet all day. She said the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act hasn't helped her, with her and her husband "stunned to find premiums over $1,000 a month. They opted to pay the penalty of $2,000 until Trump, she hopes, keeps his promise to replace the law with something better."