Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Bipartisan House Hunger Caucus

“Hunger doesn’t discriminate. This isn’t just an urban problem, or a rural problem. This is a problem that spans generations from children to senior citizens. We need to do more and we can do more. It was a privilege to join the volunteers and staff at the DC Central Kitchen to officially launch the House Hunger Caucus. I'm proud to join with Congressman McGovern to re-establish the conversation and together help find sensible, bipartisan solutions to combat hunger.”  Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-KS, co-chair of the House Hunger Caucus

"One of the most important objectives of the Hunger Caucus is to foster better communication among anti-hunger advocates by bringing together stakeholders from federal agencies, state and local governments, non-profits, faith-based organizations, academia and business to discuss long-term strategies for ending hunger. The Caucus also serves as a vehicle for anti-hunger organizations to communicate directly to Congress about hunger and food insecurity issues." Rep. Jim McGovern, D-MA,co-chair of the House Hunger Caucus
Rep. Jenkins, Rep.McGovern Launched Caucus at DC Kitchen
Just about two weeks ago,  Rep. Jim McGovern, a Democrat from Massachusetts, and Rep. Lynn Jenkins, a Republican from Kansas, joined forces to relaunch the bipartisan House Hunger Caucus. The two representatives chose the DC Central Kitchen to announce that the House Hunger Caucus was back.

Rep. Jenkins, who represents a district that includes the university town of Lawrence and the state capital of Topeka, follows the legacy left by Rep. Bill Emerson and later his wife Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, Republicans from Missouri, who took a leadership role in the House to address hunger. They worked closely with Rep. Tony Hall of Ohio, Rep. Mickely Leland of Texas and other Democrats to find bipartisan solutions to ending hunger. Here is a press release from Rep. Jenkins about her participation in the caucus. And check out this article from The Hays News in Hays, KS.

And here is the text of a speech  that Rep. McGovern, a member of the Bread for the World board of directors, made to announce the creation of the caucus. The congressman represents a district in central Massachusetts, including the city of Worcester. If you prefer to listen to his words, the video is found at the end of this post.

Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham Joins Caucus
So, how can we know if our elected representative sits on the hunger caucus? The list of members of the reconstituted caucus has not been released, but a highly placed source in Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham's office confirmed to us that the congresswoman has joined the caucus. This is very appropriate, since Rep. Lujan Grisham, who represents the First Congressional District in New Mexico, has worked hard to protect nutrition programs in her role as member of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition.

Rep. Lujan Grisham was among nearly 30 members of the House who took the SNAP Challenge. Because of her strong dedication to ending hunger, we honored Rep. Lujan Grisham at our Bread Rising/40th Anniversary Event in Albuquerque last October. While the congresswoman could not be there in person, we presented a plaque to her local community outreach staffer.

As to other members, I suspect that some congresspeople who served in the previous
version of the caucus are back. Here is a recent list of those members.

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