End hunger in Minnesota

To the editor:

One of the crying needs of a state that works is food. In 2011 according to RESULTS, a citizens group working on hunger, nearly 1 in 5 children in the suburban Twin Cities, thousands of our own, were at risk of going to bed hungry every night. As a teacher, I’m interested in the fact that studies show children who are regularly hungry suffer from weakened immune systems, slowed and abnormal growth, and anemia. Decades ago, our country made ending hunger a priority, especially childhood hunger, by creating the Food Stamp Program, now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP.

Since then, SNAP has been critical in helping low-income families put food on the table and in reducing poverty. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that SNAP lifted thousands of Twin City suburbanites out of poverty in 2011, nearly half of them children.  I’m frustrated that some politicians in Washington, D.C., want to abandon our commitment to ending hunger in America by drastically cutting or restructuring SNAP. This would result in thousands of local families losing access to these vital benefits.

Let suburban U.S. Reps. John Kline, Erik Paulsen and Michele Bachman and Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar know that hard-working Minnesotans don’t want children and families going hungry. Urge them to talk to House and Senate leaders and Agriculture Committee members, telling them to protect SNAP from any budget cuts. We must protect and strengthen SNAP and work harder to end hunger in Minnesota.

Larry Koenck

  • taxpayer28

    The more socialistic the government, the more hunger you will end up with. Margret Thatcher was quite correct when she stated, “The problem with socialism is eventually you run out of other people’s money.
    If you really are serious about ending hunger you would start by rewarding production, unlike today where being pruductive is a sin. taxed and regulated to death.
    “If you saw Atlas struggling to hold the world on his shoulders, blood dripping down his chest, straining to keep it all together. What would you tell him?” “I would say to shrug!”

    • Rosie from Rosemount

      Too bad to hear about Mrs. Thatcher’s death. A pro-life advocate, dedicated leader, capitalist, strong force for democracy and managed to keep her nation from the brink of economic collapse. She had her moments, but she certainly did far more good than harm. Without her leadership and implementation of ideas, the UK would be a third rate nation and the Cold War would have raged for many more years. Funny: She closed coal mines in the UK and the unions went nuts. Mr. Obama closes coal mines in the US and the unions don’t even mumble a peep. The double standard lives on.

      • Jan Dobson

        The “Iron Lady” was a true inspiration.

      • wageslave

        “Funny: She closed coal mines in the UK and the unions went nuts. Mr. Obama closes coal mines in the US and the unions don’t even mumble a peep. The double standard lives on.”

        No. Time marches on, along with enlightenment. Where were you when attitudes toward coal changed? Your comment implies we’re still in 1980. By the way, if Obama has, to date, “closed” coal mines, I’ll bet there WAS union mumbling. I don’t know HOW an American president “closes” something. In England, they were nationalized, so she COULD close them. Right?

        Surely Obama WANTS to reduce use of coal. That industry floods our television with commercials about “clean coal.” Don’t you suppose there are union forces within that industry that also want to perpetuate it? Do you figure those forces might have uttered a “peep”?

        I’m just gonna take a flier on this and say “yes.”

        • Jan Dobson

          So many words, wageslave. So little content. From what you’ve written, I can’t even tell whether you are ‘fer or ‘agin coal power.

          One of Lady Thatcher’s most outstanding and appealing characteristics was her fearlessness to honestly and succinctly express her convictions. Take a lesson, my friend.

        • taxpayer28

          She made a policialy calculated move in closing the mines.
          The union had a strangle hold on Great Britains economy by not having energy competition. She pushed to open competition with allowing nuclear and natural gas to expand.
          The union/ socialists where all howling mad after that.

        • Rosie from Rosemount

          wage, the following is taken from the June 13, 2011 NY Times, the headline of the article is, “President Obama’s EPA Forces Coal Jobs to Dissappear: Mines Will Close” It is a subscription service, so I cannot post a link, and the pdf cannot be cut and pasted, but this should be enough info to validate my previous post. Of course, you are welcome to do your own research too.

          “A pair of clean air rules enacted by the Environmental Protection Agency last year tightened limits on power-plant emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, and placed new limits on mercury.

          Coal was hit with a bigger blow in March when EPA issued guidelines that limit emissions from new power plants as early as 2013. Once the guidelines go into effect, no coal plants will be built unless utilities can develop a cost-effective way to capture carbon dioxide, but that technology has been slow to develop and remains very expensive. The EPA rule is estimated to cost over 11,000 jobs by 2014 and increase the cost of consumer electricity by 13% within 4 years.”

          I am not against a clean environment, but this is obviously just an over reaction to settle Mr. Obama’s environmental loyalists, and the downside is lost jobs and higher prices, when many are trying to just feed their families, and the unemployment rate remains stubbornly high. This does not even take into account the money spent and jobs created to build new electricity plants.

          Also, I think it is amusing that you demand answers from those on this board who disagree with you, yet you refuse to answer questions directed to you. A bit hypocritical, no? My link below tells the whole story of your unanswered questions. One can only assume they go unanswered by you because the answer is not what you want it to be, and you lack the ability to stand your side of the debate up upon its own legs. Perhaps you care to prove otherwise?


          • Rosie from Rosemount

            See article below: Patriot went BANKRUPT because power plants were no longer buying coal, so they had to shut down operations, layoff people from very good paying union jobs and other non-union jobs, and eventually file for Chapter 11. One example of many….

            CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Some 6,000-7,000 coal miners, their families, and other workers poured into the Civic Center here April 1 in the largest mobilization of miners in many years. The action was the latest in a series of demonstrations organized by the United Mine Workers of America since August 2012 to fight Patriot Coal’s use of bankruptcy to nullify union contracts, pensions and health care.

            Many retired miners have black lung and other debilitating work injuries from decades in the mines and depend on what they thought were lifetime benefits set down in UMWA contracts since the 1940s.

            More than 50 busloads of miners came from seven states. Hundreds drove up from southern West Virginia. The rally included both working and retired coal miners as well as union delegations, including from the United Steelworkers, United Auto Workers, Communications Workers of America, Ironworkers and the American Federation of Teachers.

            Terry Steele, a retired miner from UMWA Local 1440, came to the rally from Matewan. He used to work at the Zeigler Old Ben Mine owned by Horizon. “In 2010 they filed for bankruptcy, just like Patriot’s doing. They got out of all their financials,” he said.

            As part of its bankruptcy proceedings, Patriot Coal on March 14 asked a judge to sanction its plan to terminate union contracts and end benefits covering 10,000 retirees and their 13,000 dependents. Patriot’s bankruptcy takes place in the context of a recent contraction in domestic demand for coal, fueled in large part by recent EPA regulations.

            There are no union mines left in Mingo County, W.Va., or Pike County, Ky., Steele said.

            Both the number of coal miners and the proportion who are members of the UMWA has declined dramatically over recent years. Only about one-quarter of working miners are members of the UMWA today, down from 43 percent in 1994. Today there are about 82,000 active miners in the U.S., down from some 94,000 in January of last year and from 175,000 4 years ago.

            “The younger generation, a lot of us, were raised off the union,” said Jeff Samek, 29, a faceman at the Alpha Natural Resources Carmichaels Mine in Southwest Pennsylvania. Speakers at the rally included Democratic politicians from West Virginia, including Sen. Joe Manchin, Rep. Nick Rahall, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Secretary of State Natalie Tennant.

            Steelworkers from Ravenswood came to the rally along with nurses from Bluefield, who recently formed a Nurses Union, and a van of UAW members from the Ford plant in Louisville, Ky.

            “It’s going to affect all of us,” said Debbie Casey, a member of CWA Local 2204 from Castlewood, Va. She said the CWA, IBEW and UMWA brought five busloads to the rally.

            “I support the UMWA in this,” said Larry Goodwin, 35, vice president of United Steelworkers Local 477 at a refractory plant in Buckhannon. He came with several others from the local. “We faced the same thing in my plant. We lost health care for retirees and current employees.”

            “This is not just about the mine workers, UMWA President Cecil Roberts told participants.

            Following the speeches Roberts led the massive gathering out of the Civic Center, marching down the streets of Charleston to the headquarters of Patriot Coal. Chants of “U-M-W-A” and “We are union” broke out. Roberts and 15 other labor, civic and religious officials who had declared their intention to be arrested sat down in the street until cops took them away.

  • Rosie from Rosemount

    Having recently spent time in a third-world country, visiting and working in villages, my estimation of the situation is relative to elsewhere, we do an excellent job in the US feeding people. Aside form the mentally ill, there are virtually no deaths in the US due to undereating or malnutrition, and the spotty cases of illness or disease caused by malnutrition are more of an issue of educating on nutrition, not a lack thereof.

    If you are truly interested in helping feed others in this nation and even around the world you need to ignore the call to buy and consume organic and related type foods. Aside from being more expensive than what we have ordinarily and traditionally consumed in this country for over 100 years, organics offers only a negligible amount of added benefit to diets, if any, and studies have shown that in some cases, an organic diet can have negative impact on health. Additionally, when people buy organic and related foods, they are not buying the traditional food, resulting in higher prices for traditional foods (a function of the supply-demand curve), which directly impacts the poor. And the poor have absolutely no way of affording the premium priced organic foods to begin with. I find the increased consumption of organic foods and its related products and services elitist behaivor in all but a few circumstances. The issue goes beyond food and involves workers in field, logistics and predatory pricing, including monopolistic tendencies of organic food purveyors.

    In terms of SNAP, I am way in favor of a social safety net, but I see no need to provide people who are hungry with potato chips and onion dip instead of baked potatoes and butter. SNAP will need to be reformed before I will endorse it.