With the Maine Department of Labor announcing that unemployment recently rose (“Maine unemployment ticked up in June,” July 22), I started to think, as I often do, about the future of our state. The lack of growth in Maine continues to cause me concern for what the state will look like in the decades to come, so it seems more important than ever to invest in our future.

What I have seen of the budget proposed late last month by U.S. House Republicans is not in Maine’s best interests. This budget threatens to restructure and reduce funding to vital social programs, one of the most notable being the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly food stamps).

This program’s single largest beneficiary is children, who make up nearly half of all SNAP recipients. These same children are one day going to inherit the responsibility for the state of Maine, so it is imperative that we ensure they receive the nutrition necessary that allows them to learn, play and grow.

Maine’s aging population is an issue that needs to be addressed. As a soon-to-be college graduate, I see many of my peers preparing for a future outside Maine. While I hope to live here for the rest of my life, many other young people do not. If we hope to prepare Maine for the future and prevent the younger generations from leaving, our representatives in Washington need to create an environment that supports growth and development, and protecting SNAP funding is essential to this end.

Chris Miller

Falmouth