Monday, March 28, 2016

Vote to End Hunger: 'Will this Legislation Help Put Food on the Table?'

Imagine if legislators asked of every bill, every time, Will this create a job?” “Will this help put food on the table?” “Will this make families more secure?” So much clutter of the session could be removed, to focus on improving the state from the ground up.  Editorial on Feb. 21, 2015, in The New Mexican (Santa Fe)
The New Mexican newspaper asked that question in an editorial published more than a year ago but relevant today and probably in the future. The Santa Fe daily made the comment as the New Mexico State Legislature was in the midst of its 60-day session. The editorial raised the question in the context of the traditional addresses to the legislative body by the five members of the federal Congressional delegation. 

The question posed by The New Mexican is very much in the spirit of the Vote to End Hunger, which seeks to make hunger a political priority. "Vote to End Hunger is a broad coalition of individuals and organizations all committed to ending hunger in the U.S. and around the world by 2030, We believe that it will take the combined public and political will to do this and are working together to elevate the issue of hunger with candidates during the 2016 election cycle." 

Bread for the World is one of seven members of the steering committee for the Vote to End Hunger Coalition. The others are The Alliance to End Hunger, Feeding America, the Food Research and Action Center, Meals on Wheels, No Kid Hungry and RESULTS.

The editorial in The New Mexican included quotes from our three members of the House and Sen. Tom Udall. Sen. Martin Heinrich had not yet addressed the legislature when the editorial was published, but his comments were carried later by the Las Vegas Times.

The New Mexican singled out comments from Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who is a member of the Subcommittee on Nutrition of the House Agriculture Committee.

“It’s time that you declare war on poverty in New Mexico. It is time that the New Mexico Legislature flat-out declare war,” Lujan Grisham said, reminding everyone that poverty is the underlying issue with every problem in the state. “There’s not a single member here, from the House or the Senate, Republican or Democrat, who doesn’t have poverty issues that you’re working to address in the neighborhoods that you represent. There’s not a single elected leader here today who doesn’t have a hungry child or a school with a nutrition program that’s in trouble.”

All three members of the House are running for reelection in November, so it's relevant to include their comments from 2015 in the context of the Vote to End Hunger campaign.

Rep. Ben Ray Lujan: “As a state and a country, we cannot reach our full potential without a vibrant middle class...I am not naïve. I know that for too many New Mexicans, this vision feels like it’s slipping away. I’ve sat across from many kitchen tables in many homes across New Mexico and looked into many parents’ eyes and seen the hurt and fear as they struggle to provide the next meal for their children.”

Rep. Steve Pearce: He spoke of ways to diversify and revive our state economy, including efforts to boost the technology, agriculture and perhaps the timber industry. “What people want is not complex at all. They just want financial security and independence."

According to the New Mexico Secretary of State's office, businessman  Richard Priem is challenging Rep. Lujan Grisham in Congressional District 1. In District 2, Merrie Soules, an employee of General Motors' Packard Electric Division, is challenging Rep. Steve Pearce. In District 3, three candidates will face each other--Rancher Michael Glenn Lucero, ski tech Jerald Steve McFall and Air Force veteran Michael Romero--in the New Mexico June 7primary election for the right to challenge Rep. Ben Ray Lujan in the general election on Nov 8.
We also include comments from Sen. Tom Udall and Sen. Martin Heinrich from 2015.  Neither of our two senators is facing re-election this year.

Sen. Tom Udall:“Thirty percent of New Mexico children and 44 percent of Native American children live below the poverty line.We should work together to improve that. No American who works full time should be in poverty.”

Sen. Martin Heinrich: We need to take a holistic approach to addressing the needs of children along with their parents. Leaving either the child or the parent behind decreases a family’s chance at success. Imagine if we were able to bring all these resources together, working as one to support the family. 

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