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Political Candidates Increasingly Candid About Their Past Experiences With Bankruptcy

August 18, 2010

As Fontana personal bankruptcy attorneys, we have been interested to note several recent articles about Congressional candidates around the country who are openly discussing past bankruptcies. In Arkansas, Republican Rick Crawford is running for the House of Representatives, in part on a platform of fiscal restraint that he says he learned from a 1994 bankruptcy. In Vermont, another Republican running for the House, Paul Beaudry, says he wants to apply the lessons he learned from a 1997 bankruptcy to the fiscal problems facing national government today. And a third Republican in Florida, Florida House incumbent Peter Nehr, says his 2009 bankruptcy filing should not affect his ability to do a good job for people in his Tampa-area district. Opponents in all three cases are arguing that the bankruptcies make them poor financial decision-makers, but the candidates openly disagree.

Crawford, the Arkansas candidate, filed for bankruptcy in 1994. News reports don't give the background of this decision, but they have noted that he owed more than $12,000, including $4,200 in medical bills and $7,500 in credit card debt. He has told the media that he thinks his experience going through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy could help to avoid a similar problem on a national level. This was echoed by Vermont talk radio host Paul Beaudry, who declared bankruptcy in 1997 after leaving active duty in the Army, which dropped his income by more than 50%. He told the Bennington Banner that he learned from the mistakes he made 13 years ago and believes the federal government is making the same mistakes. Nehr, the Florida Congressman, has a slightly different story. He owned a flag shop for 18 years, but closed it last year and filed for bankruptcy. The situation was complicated by his divorce this April. He didn't comment on how this might affect his financial choices for the state, but noted that he currently lives just fine on his $30,000 salary as a state legislator.

Our Seal Beach consumer bankruptcy lawyers gathered all of these stories because we believe they teach an important lesson: bankruptcy is not necessarily something to be ashamed of. Some of these candidates have said they are not proud of having been in bankruptcy or that they made mistakes earlier in life, but they are talking openly about their bankruptcies and using them as a way to discuss broader fiscal responsibility issues. By contrast, we are sorry to say that many of our clients are ashamed to come to us for help with a bankruptcy, even when they know intellectually that this is their best financial choice. In fact, many bankruptcy filers wait far too long to make that choice because they are ashamed, even though this can mean running through assets that they could have kept if they had filed earlier. We strongly believe that filing for bankruptcy doesn't have to be a failure -- sometimes, it's the smartest way to deal with overwhelming debts.

At Howard Law PC, we stand by our clients throughout the process of filing for a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. When clients first walk through our doors, we sit down to do a financial analysis and decide whether bankruptcy truly is their best option. If it is, our Newport Beach individual bankruptcy attorneys can help them choose between the two main types of bankruptcy for individuals and couples, based on their individual financial situations and needs. Then, we can represent clients as their cases make their way through the legal system, representing them in court and in negotiations with creditors. We also counsel all clients on the consequences of their bankruptcies for their credit scores and taxes. If necessary, we can also help to sue debt collectors who violate the automatic stay on debt collection phone calls.

If you're feeling trapped by your debt and you know you need help, you should call Howard Law to learn more about bankruptcy. To set up a free consultation, contact us through the Internet or call 1-800-872-5925.