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Faces in the Crowd: David Rupert

David Ruppert grew up in Detroit, where cars and politics were family staples. His father was a Chrysler lineman and active in the United Auto Workers union. Ruppert remembers riding through city streets in his father's Chrysler New Yorker and shouting into a megaphone, "Vote HHH," for Hubert H. Humphrey in the 1968 election.

Forty years later, the lifelong Democrat and General Motors employee and his family are being battered by a recession, with less overtime work, layoffs and fewer luxuries. But Ruppert says he believes President-elect Barack Obama will be able to restore some optimism in a moment of deep pessimism. The union representative at the GM Powertrain plant in White Marsh plans to drive with his wife and children to Washington from Perry Hall, Md., for the inauguration.

Ruppert said he will need that inspiration amid the heavy toll the slumping economy has taken. With auto sales plummeting, his GM plant, which makes transmissions for heavy-duty Silverado trucks and other vehicles, laid off two-thirds of its workforce, or about 250 people. He said the plant's high level of productivity in past years let him grow accustomed to working overtime hours for overtime pay. But that's long gone.

Read the rest of David Ruppert's story.

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  January 13, 2009; 7:06 PM ET  | Category:  Faces in the Crowd
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