By Bruce Colbath, published as a letter to the editor “Backward we will go” in the East Hampton Star May 25th, 2017.
We have already seen the amazing callousness that Mr. Trump and his Republican cronies have shown towards the American people in celebrating their punitive healthcare plan and their budget proposal. Sadly for us, they aren’t through. Another Trump proposal will cut $200 million from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). When you cut that much money from something, fewer people are going to be protected – and the losers will be those in the title of the program: women, infants and children.
More than 7.8 million women and children participated in the WIC program in the first three months of the 2016 fiscal year. Children and infants usually make up three-quarters of WIC recipients. Trump’s budget cuts mean that hundreds of thousands of mothers, their children and infants would be unable to receive the food vouchers they qualify for. The reason they “qualify” for them? They do not have enough income to afford enough food to feed those young children and infants.
And backwards we will go. Studies by the Center for Disease Control indicate that the WIC program contributed to a decrease in childhood obesity, which means healthier children. A recent study showed that 34 of 56 WIC State Agencies saw modest decreases in obesity among young children from 2010-2014. The percentage of low-income children (ages 2-4) with obesity enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) decreased from 15.9% in 2010 to 14.5% in 2014.
So in order to give the rich a tax break, build a useless wall and pay for more authoritarian deportation agents, the Washington Republicans will starve little children and their mothers.
The East Hampton Republican Party has promised to bring this same kind of “progress” to our town. Seriously?
Our Town Board knows better than to turn its back on our most vulnerable residents. Earlier this year, it gave the East Hampton Food Pantry a new home — located on the grounds of Town Hall. And, in 2017, the Town awarded a grant to the Eleanor Whitmore Early Childhood Center for $90,000, an increase of $10,000 over last year.
The Democratic slate for the Town Board will continue to deliver socially responsible governance instead of punishing the more vulnerable among us. It is they who deserve your vote this November.