Monday, July 09, 2018

The Candidates Too

Most of the 80-plus letters written at our Offering of Letters at St. John XXIII Catholic Community on the weekend of July 7-8 were directed to our congressional representatives in Washington. More than one-third of those letters went to Sen. Martin Heinrich, while a dozen or so were addressed to Sen Tom Udall, while the count for Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham was in the teens.  A visitor to our parish from California wrote a letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

Rep. Lujan Grisham had been the popular choice in our Offerings of Letters the past three years. Many letter-writers, aware that she has announced her decision to step down from her post in the U.S. House of Representatives to run for governor of New Mexico, wrote fewer letters to her.  However, organizers of our Offering of Letters decided to give parishioners the opportunity to write to the three individuals seeking to replace Lujan Grisham in the House: Democrat Deb Haaland, Republican Janice Arnold-Jones and Libertarian Lloyd Princeton.

Our sample letters to the candidates had slightly different wording than those to sitting members of Congress.  Our messages mentioned the high rate of child hunger and overall food insecurity in New Mexico and suggested that one way to address this situation was to protect funding for vital nutrition programs like SNAP, WIC and tax credits for low-income voters.

My guess is that the candidates are not necessarily receiving letters from would-be constituents at this point in the campaign. Our OL offered the opportunity to those who wanted to send the message to do so.  By this time next year, Haaland, Arnold-Jones or Princeton will be representing the New Mexico First District, and we hope that our letters will plant a seed to ensure that addressing hunger remains on the radar of our new elected official.

Here are additional photos from our Offering of Letters.

Our pastor, Father Ark Biczak
Judy Traeger, a JustFaith facilitator

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