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I was excited to vote in this country from the day I became a citizen in August.

First-time U.S. ballot. (Kathleen Kenna photo)

My first U.S. ballot. (Kathleen Kenna photo)

I was just sorry I wasn’t here in time to cast an historic vote for Barack Obama, when he became America’s first black president in 2008.

Barack Obama inspired me to become an American citizen.

I believed in his early messages of hope and change.

I still do.

I believe the best change President Obama has wrought is the Affordable Health Care Act, so-called Obamacare.

As a rehabilitation counselor, I believe it’s the best hope for many Americans in more than five decades.

We’re not there yet, but universal health care was certainly the greatest hope of the late Senator Ted Kennedy, another American hero.

As a woman with disabilities, who has studied and worked in the rehabilitation field for more than five years, I know Obamacare is the best change any president has brought us since the first president Bush signed the Americans With Disabilities Act in 1990.

I’m saddened that political greed has tried to cheapen the word ‘hope’ in this country.

But I’m not losing hope.

Rehabilitation counselors thrive on hope. It’s what we work with every day.

I hope my vote helps President Obama reach a second term, to continue the change he has brought for so many workers, women, minorities, elders, people with disabilities, and new citizens like me.

I hope. I hope. I hope.