MPIPersona Project
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Dan & Julie

Portrait of Dan & Julie
Age
50
Race
White
Hometown
Morristown, Illinois
Income
$95,000
Education
High School
Now lives
Morristown, Illinois
Dan
Job Title
Truck Driver
Group
Routine Traded
Occupation
Transportation & Materials Moving
Industry
Transportation & Logistics
Julie
Job Title
Hair Dresser
Group
Routine Local
Occupation
Personal Care & Service
Industry
Local Personal Services (Non-Medical)
Artifact: American Flag

Artifact: American Flag

Dan:

I chose it because of 9/11. It was kind of neat to see the flag go up when the rubble came down and to hear what our President had to say in the speech. The United States of America came together. You almost want to cry just for knowing what had happened. Every time I hear the national anthem and see that flag, my mind just goes back to all the people who died. It makes you sad but it also, like I say, was a moment when the United States of America was united together.

Julie:

It represents freedom of speech, freedom to vote, all the freedoms that we have as Americans. I think of some of the countries where the women aren’t allowed to show their face or their skin, and I would hate that, to have to be covered. I would hate to be treated that way by a man, that you’re not equal, that you aren’t as good as them.

Hard-working, community-minded couple living within their means
“We like to go out and have fun. I wouldn’t say we’re conservative but we don’t live outside our means. Sure, we’d like to have more, but not if it means being in debt the rest of our lives.”
School Josef Hanus/iStock

COMMUNITY | EDUCATION

We live close to where we grew up. Our parents, our siblings, all live nearby. We moved back here so our kids could go to the same grade school Julie went to — there’s one class per grade, about 20 kids per class. We like living out here where the yards are a little bit bigger and you know everyone. There’s a real sense of community. We live basic, simple lives. We just traded in one of our cars that we had for 9 years and it had 146,000 miles on it. We have fun and go on vacations, but we try to be real careful. Our son and daughter are both in college and we’re so proud of them, because neither of us went. That’s one of the things we want for our kids: to be more educated — it’s what’s going to help them be successful in life. We just don’t want to be one of them statistics, you know, as far as just being the ones that always need help.

“We like living out here where the yards are a little bit bigger and you know everyone. There’s a real sense of community. We live basic, simple lives.”

Economy

Dan:

My dad was a truck driver for almost 40 years, so I sort of thought from when I was 10 or 12 that I would be too. If I had a second chance, I would’ve went to college — maybe I would have tried to be a doctor. That way you’re helping people out, and of course, you’re making a good living. It would be a better direction to go than what I’m doing now. But, then, I don’t know. Education is supposed to make us more productive, to move this country forward. But we’ve put money in education for the last 50 years, and we’re not producing any better. We’re going in the opposite way; we’re going worse than what we were.

Hard-working, community-minded couple living within their means
“We like to go out and have fun. I wouldn’t say we’re conservative but we don’t live outside our means. Sure, we’d like to have more, but not if it means being in debt the rest of our lives.”

Economy | Work

Julie:

I love my career; it’s never boring! I’ve been a hairdresser for 34 years. I love helping people; I love to get to know them and their stories. I’m a part of their lives — the most important parts: birthdays, pregnancies, proms, weddings. I love the flexibility; I can work as much or as little as I want. But I don’t have a set salary, so I have no idea from week to week how much money I’m going to make. It just depends on how many clients I have that week. When the economy is good, people are going to spend money on their hair. If the economy is bad and people don’t have money, that’s one of the first places they cut back. Dan handles airfreight, so when people aren’t buying things, his job slows down too. I worry some, but I have faith that things will be okay. My husband is even more positive than me. He is never negative. I always say everything is good in his world. I think he’s rubbed off on me, actually, and made me more like that.

“When the economy is good, people are going to spend money on their hair. If the economy is bad and people don’t have money, that’s one of the first places they cut back.”
Hair salon Hilary Brodey/iStock

Economy | Government

Dan:

I see the economy in my truck every week. When things are good, I see 75 to 100 TVs in my truck. I’d rather see people buying things, keeping me busy, and keeping the economy going. But they can’t do that if all they’ve got is minimum wage. It’s all linked. Democracy is supposed to be working together to improve our country. The parties don’t seem to work together. They’re not helping the American people by sitting there arguing over something really petty. What we need is people working, making a good wage. Minimum wage was supposed to be for younger kids to get out there and get experience on a job line to move themselves up. Now families live on minimum wage. How do we move forward like that?

“I see the economy in my truck every week. When things are good, I see 75 to 100 TVs in my truck. I’d rather see people buying things, keeping me busy, and keeping the economy going.”
Using a cellphone sebastianarning/EyeEm

Politics

Julie:

I’m not really into politics like Dan is. I should be more interested, I know. I don’t feel very knowledgeable about politics but I definitely think it affects the community. I’m kind of embarrassed to say that I don’t get more involved, because I think people should be involved. On my phone, I’ve got this app that has the top stories of the day. Maybe one out of 10 are about politics. Dan pays more attention to it than I do. He’s not real involved in any politics either, but at least he knows what’s going on.

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