GOP legislator pays jobless worker $8 for yard work, chides her in email

Rep. Stephen LaRoque, a Kinston Republican, was the subject of this Huffington Post story earlier this afternoon, where it reported he paid one of the 46,000 jobless workers without unemployment benefits $8-an-hour to do yard work at his house.

The Huffington Post story gave mention to a testy email exchange Treadway and LaRoque had on Thursday. Scroll down this post to read the content of that email.

Kathryn “Cinnamon” Treadway spoke to N.C. Policy Watch as well today, and said she only did an hour’s worth of work because LaRoque wanted her to haul away large tree limbs and other heavy manual labor that she didn’t think she could physically do on such a hot day.

“He did give me $8 for the hour I was there, and that covered the gas to get there and back,” she said. “It was embarrassing; I was embarrassed to go to this man’s house who was obviously wealthy. I was the valedictorian of my high school and here I am, sitting here picking weeds out of his yard for $8 an hour.”

Treadway and her husband, who lost his welding job as well, have been without any income since April 16, when extended benefits were stopped over a fight between state leaders about the state budget. A graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill and medical transcriber, Treadway said she’s applied to all types of jobs at chicken processing plants to fast food restaurants and gotten no calls back.

The couple and their two children were evicted from their apartment in March and are now living in Goldsboro with her parents.

The email between LaRoque and Treadway is below, unedited other than to remove home addresses and provided by Treadway to N.C. Policy Watch:


Subject: RE: Please reinstate unemployment benefits now.
Date: Thu, 26 May 2011 11:51:46 -0400
From: [email protected]
To: [email protected]

If you really meant that you would be willing to work in my yard, then plan to come tomorrow morning.   I’ll pay $8 per hour.  Let me know if you are serious.


From: Cinnamon Treadway [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Thursday, May 26, 2011 11:40 AM
To: Rep. Stephen LaRoque
Subject: RE: Please reinstate unemployment benefits now.


For your information sir, I can pass a drug test and am not opposed to manual labor.  If your yard happens to be within 20 miles of Goldsboro, by all means I’ll be over there with a rake and shovel first thing tomorrow morning.  But there you go, stereotyping.  If “anyone” could find a job, sir, then we wouldn’t have an unemployment rate of over 9% now would we?  The tone of my email is based on the fact that I have had no income for 6 weeks.  To say the least, I’m a little stressed.  Try placing yourself in my shoes for an instant and imagining having no money or benefits for 6 weeks.  I am not too good to work anywhere.  I have applied at McDonald’s, Ihop, Jiffylube, Wal-Mart, even Tire services places, etc.  The fact is sir, you don’t know me either.  And the problem is, none of you are WILLING to know any of us.  You act like we are just lazy.  Easy to say when, like you say I am, you make presumptions about me.  Your darn right I’m angry.  Angry that instead of passing a clean bill, you attach it to a budget that has nothing to do with it, and then to keep yourselves from looking like the total jackasses that you are, you moan and groan that you did the best you can and it’s “our governor” who is holding it up.  It’s hogwash.  You know it, and I know it, and so do a lot others.  I haven’t threatened you in any way, shape or form.  My point is, the bill for extended benefits is already there.  All it it needs is a clean bill to pass.  It is not state’s money.  Why not just pass it and end the suffering of thousands of people?  If you’re truly interested in helping me find a job, then why would you not ask me about my level of experience, my education, etc, rather than just googling it on the internet and finding a few job availabilities in Wayne County and emailing them to me?  That’s all you did.  My attitude is not always like this.  I certainly wouldn’t go to work acting angry, but I guarantee you if my boss told me sorry, you won’t get a paycheck for 6 weeks, then yeah, my attitude might become a bit more harsh.  But you’re darn right I’m fed up at this point with the he said/she said BS that is going back and forth between the Dems and the Repubs.  No one cares that people are LOSING everything.  All it is is this little game that the good ol’ boys are playing.  And I have voted republican for years.  Never again.  And I type over 65 words a minute, so if you honestly think this little 5 minute email conversation is somehow keeping me from looking for work, then you are bananas sir, simply bananas.

Subject: RE: Please reinstate unemployment benefits now.
Date: Thu, 26 May 2011 11:19:21 -0400
From: [email protected]
To: [email protected]

I was trying to help you with suggestions.  Most anyone can find a job if they can pass a drug test and are physically able to work.  I have tried to find people to do yard work but it seems most are too good for manual labor.  Based on the tone of your email it is not difficult to see why you can’t find a job.  With the attitude and rancor you have just exhibited I would Not expect anyone to hire you.  It is offensive for you to say with my “money and influence” I would have a better chance of finding a job.  You don’t know me or my financial condition.  I am self-employed so I risk my financial condition everyday trying to earn a living.  When I was unemployed, I went out and found a job…Any Job.  I wasn’t bad mouthing elected officials and making threats towards them…I didn’t have time because I was busy looking for work.  It’s not my fault you are out of work and it’s not my fault you don’t have extended unemployment benefits.  I didn’t Veto the Bill, your governor did.  Place the blame where it belongs.



From: Cinnamon Treadway [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Thursday, May 26, 2011 10:56 AM
To: Rep. Stephen LaRoque
Subject: RE: Please reinstate unemployment benefits now.


The last thing I need, sir, is another politician acting as if the problem is that I am not applying for jobs.  I can assure you this is not the problem.  When I applied at Sanderson Farms, they were so inundated with applicants that the NCESC (whom I was told to go through) literally wrote my name on a piece of paper with HUNDREDS of other names and disinterestedly told me they would “call me if anything came open”.  To say they’re are 191 job openings is a joke.  I have no experience in that field and for every 200 job openings there are 2000 people applying for that one job, if not more.  What are the chances of a woman whose only experience is that of a secretary being hired at someplace like Sanderson Farms or Goldsboro Milling?  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 and then send me a list of those names.  I’ve been applying and getting rejected for over a year.  Maybe with your money and influence, you would have a better chance. The problem is, the politicians can pass this bill with no skin off their back- it is federal money.  It costs the state nothing.  But in order to forward their own agenda, they continue to discredit and ignore the people who voted them into office.  Do not think for an INSTANT that we will forget what the republicans are doing.  Not an instant.  I have voted republican for most of my life, but this blatant disregard for people’s lives all while you live your life of luxury and really couldn’t care less about your fellow man says it all for what you stand for.  Stop giving the little song and dance of “well we sent the budget through and a fix for the unemployment gap, but the mean ol’ governor veto’d it”  Do you actually think that anyone besides a few crackheads would not be able to see through what you have done?  You are dishonest sir.  You and your party promised to represent us when we needed you and you have failed miserably.  I sincerely hope karma comes around to bite you in the butt when election time comes.  I have a feeling it will.  Have a great day sir.

Kathryn Treadway

Subject: RE: Please reinstate unemployment benefits now.
Date: Thu, 26 May 2011 10:39:13 -0400
From: [email protected]
To: [email protected]

Mrs. Treadway,


I appreciate your email explaining your personal situation.  I’m sorry that you have been unable to find work.  Since you live in Wayne County I would like to suggest that you look into job openings in our area.  We have a new chicken processing plant in Kinston named Sanderson Farms and they currently have 191 openings available according to the web site link below.  Goldsboro Milling is a local Wayne County company that may be hiring but I don’t know that for sure.  Please contact these companies and apply for a job.  I have included a link for employment opportunities below the link for Sanderson Farms.  Have you registered with the local temporary agencies?  Please let me know the results of your contacts with these companies.






Rep. Stephen LaRoque


From: Cinnamon Treadway [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Thursday, May 26, 2011 10:10 AM
To: Rep. Larry Bell; Rep. Stephen LaRoque; Rep. Efton M. Sager; Sen. Louis Pate
Subject: Please reinstate unemployment benefits now.


Dear Leaders:

I know you have heard it a thousand times if you’ve heard it once.  But I have to make my voice heard.  I am one of the 45,000-50,000 individuals now cut off from unemployment benefits.  We have already been evicted from our home and are currently in the process of moving in with my parents; that is my husband and my 2 daughters, in a small 2 bedroom brick home.  We are on our way this morning to apply for food stamps, which I have never had to do in my life and am absolutely mortified.  I have a degree from the University of North Carolina with a BA in English, and even after hundreds, if not thousands of resumes, phone calls, etc., I have had 4 interviews in the last year and a half and none have panned out.  We are on the verge of losing our only vehicle, which we have paid on for 3-1/2 years now, and it is about to be taken from us, leaving us with no transportation to get our children to school, much less get to work should we find jobs.  I am begging you on behalf of our family, before we lose absolutely everything, to please work out a compromise and pass the extension of these benefits to give us more time to try to help ourselves.  We are not just “riding” out the benefits.  I assure you I look every day in the paper, online, by word of mouth, to try and find something to help support my family.  My husband works his butt off but even he cannot support 4 people on 8$ an hour, a car payment and house payment to pay, school, books, sporting events the children are involved in.  I cannot stress enough how much we need YOU right now.  We need you to understand and to help us.  We are begging you to please work together so we can put an end to this mess this has become.  Please reinstate the extended benefits NOW, as soon as you can, so that people like us will not lose what we have left, what we have worked for for years.  All it takes is for both sides to not be hard-headed and realize that it is the time to put that aside and help these people, who are real people.  What if it were your daughters and sons, who had not enough food to eat, nowhere to go, no car to drive, no way to clothe their children?  Please think about how the shoe would feel on the other foot.  Please help us.


Kathryn D. Treadway

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GOP legislator pays jobless worker $8 for yard work, chides her in email