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I want to tell you about someone who has inspired me personally and professionally.

Her name is Melony Armstrong and because of her, millions of Americans have the freedom to more easily work and earn a living for their families.

Melony was recently featured in a video on the AFP Facebook page, but her story is so inspiring that I wanted to make sure you heard it.

You see, Melony had a goal of making a living as a hair braider. But she quickly learned it wouldn’t be as easy as she thought. Government-imposed barriers to work— called occupational licensing— immediately kept her from starting the business she wanted.

If you’re not familiar with occupational licensing, it is a set of state laws that require citizens to pay fees, take tests, meet education requirements, or navigate other requirements to earn a license in order to do certain jobs. As Melony put it, it is a “permission slip from the government in order to work.”

Proponents of occupational licensing argue they help ensure public safety, but they do little more than protect special interests from new competition.

Melony saw that occupational licensing laws in Mississippi were creating barriers to work and holding people back from pursuing their dreams. So, she took matters into her own hands.

Through a partnership with AFP, Melony worked to get legislation passed in Mississippi to reform burdensome occupational licensing— and 20 other states have followed their lead and passed similar reforms!

But the story doesn’t end there. Too many Americans are still facing barriers to work in the form of occupational licensing. Americans for Prosperity is continuing to work with community leaders like Melony and lawmakers across the country to bring occupational licensing reform nationwide.

I’ll leave you with Melony’s advice to lawmakers who aren’t working for occupational licensing reform: “Get out of the way and let people get to work!”

To meet Melony and hear more about her story, please watch this video.