Access to food and good nutrition is a basic human right that governments and societies around the world have, too often, failed to uphold. And, unfortunately, our state of Maine is no exception.

Since 2014, tens of thousands of Mainers have lost access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program after harsh, unnecessary new work requirements were implemented. As a result, more children have been going to bed hungry, food pantries are being exhausted of resources and low-income Mainers are now more vulnerable to unemployment and hardship.

U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin and Gov. LePage have had no qualms with bad-mouthing SNAP for years and working to dismantle its benefits. Meanwhile, Sen. Susan Collins has refrained from being vocal about the issue she purports to support reforms to. We, as Mainers, need to expect more from our leaders in Washington, D.C., and Augusta.

I ask Rep. Poliquin and Sen. Collins to reconsider their stances and actions (or lack thereof) on SNAP. We will reduce hunger in Maine by enriching, not draining, these public benefits programs and by fighting the stigma attached to our most vulnerable residents, not vilifying them further.

Come this November, vote for candidates who will fight for actual economic justice and uphold our public benefits programs. That would be Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Janet Mills for everyone in Maine, and Democratic congressional candidate Jared Golden for my fellow residents of the 2nd District.

Christopher Hassan


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