Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (D) has reversed course on a proposed rule change that would have cut food stamp eligibility for unemployed adults without children.
Nixon had initially cited concerns over the amount of federal funds available for state-run food assistance programs, but now says there's more certainty due to the end of the partial government shutdown last week. Fellow Democrat and State Senator Jamilah Nasheed of St. Louis says she's elated by the governor's reversal.
"Our democratic values lie on the fact that we look out for the indigent and the poor and those that can't really fend for themselves," Nasheed said. "I know that the governor has a heart, and he showed it when he reversed the decision."
Jeanette Mott Oxford is a former Democratic state lawmaker from St. Louis who now heads the Missouri Association for Social Welfare. She says they're delighted by the decision.
"We've had our members and other allies calling to say this is the wrong way to go," Oxford said. "We have a huge problem with hunger in Missouri and this would (have made) things worse – it certainly would (have done) nothing to help people find work."
Oxford now says advocates for the hungry should focus their attention on Congress and combat efforts to cut food stamp funding from the federal farm bill.
Here is Governor Nixon's full quote from a press release issued Thursday:
"Ensuring state-administered food assistance programs operate as effectively and efficiently as possible is an important priority of my administration. With greater certainty about what the federal funding level for the food stamp program will be after last week's budget agreement, we have made a determination that the appropriate course of action is to maintain the policy that is currently in place."
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