'Pro-life but not pro-kids-deserve-food': Minnesota Republican excoriated for denying that hunger exists
Minnesota State Senator Steve Drazkowski (R-20th District) proclaimed during a floor debate on Tuesday that free school meals are unnecessary because he personally has never encountered a resident suffering from hunger.
The bill in question, House File 5, states that "the purpose of the school breakfast program is to provide affordable morning nutrition to children so that they can effectively learn" and that "schools shall encourage all children to eat a nutritious breakfast, either at home or at school, and shall work to eliminate barriers to breakfast participation at school such as inadequate facilities and transportation."
HF-5 mandates that a "school that receives school breakfast aid under this section must make breakfast available without charge to all participating students in grades 1 to 12 who qualify for free or reduced-price meals and to all prekindergarten students enrolled in an approved voluntary prekindergarten program under section 124D.151 and all kindergarten students."
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As of 2019, the general poverty rate in The Land of Ten Thousand Lakes was nine percent, while among children it was just over eleven percent.
According to the non-profit Second Harvest Heartland, food insecurity is on the rise in Minnesota.
"One in six neighbors in Minnesota experienced food insecurity in 2021. That's 483,000 people," the organization says on its website. It also points out that "twenty-five percent of Black households in Minnesota experienced food insecurity compared to four percent of White households in 2020."
Furthermore, the Star Tribunenoted in November 2022 that "more Minnesotans have visited food shelves this year than any other year on record, continuing an unprecedented surge in demand for food assistance that began with the COVID-19 pandemic."
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But Drazkowski, who is white, denied that there is a problem at all and trivialized the very notion of hunger against the backdrop of Republicans across the country gunning to revoke subsidies for the poor.
"Mr. President, I have yet to meet a person in Minnesota that is hungry. Yet today I have yet to meet a person in Minnesota that says they don't have access to enough food to eat. Now, I should say that hunger is a relative term, Mr. President, you know? I had a cereal bar for breakfast. I guess I'm hungry now," Drazkowski said. "Uh, that, to some might be the, maybe that's the definition of the bill. I don't know. I didn't, I didn't see a definition of hunger in the bill, Mr. President. Um, but I think most reasonable people suggest hunger means you don't have enough to eat in order to, to, uh, provide for metabolism and growth."
The lawmaker's remarks were swiftly condemned on social media.
Jay Black: "Steve Drazkowski wasn't born of a human mother. What happened was that someone asked ChatGPT for an example of privilege and things got out of hand."
Chiti: "He’s a Republican, and I bet he’s also a 'Christian.' If it's not happening within his country club, it doesn't exist."
Jo: "BEFORE the pandemic, 200,000 Minnesotan children were suffering from food insecurity. Some estimates suggest that number has doubled in the years since. Who does this?!! I want to scream. I want to throw something. This makes me so F*cking mad. Republicans are f*cking broken. Like, who the f*ck is like, 'those kids aren't hungry! They don't even know what hungry is!!' 1 OF 5 FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN IN THE STATE OF MINNESOTA FACES HUNGER OR FOOD INSECURITY. F*ck this guy and his f*cking cereal bar."
Jamil Smith جميل كريم: "It isn't even so much the cruelty. It's the casual nature of it."
Mitchell Robinson: "Fixed it: 'I have yet to meet someone in my circle of friends and family that is hungry. I have yet to meet a middle-class white person in my inner circle that says they don't have access to enough food to eat.'"
Matt Chatham: "I've NEVER met a person who has been to the Netherlands, and trust me…I asked around. Therefore, there is no Netherlands."
Tim: "'Everyone at my country club never goes hungry.'"
Bob-Cat-Man: "This should be in his challenger's ads. If you or someone you know has ever gone hungry in Minnesota, the Republicans do not see you, they don't care about you, and their narratives revolve on refusing to acknowledge that you even exist. This is the definition of 'out of touch'."
Myron B. Pitts: "1 second Google search. It would be more honest if he just said he didn't care if people were hungry."
Dr. Ginny McDonald: "I'm guessing he never gets out of his comfort zone and go around the working class and poor. He's a d*ckhead."
AP Hawkeye: "The old, 'I ate lunch, therefore hunger doesn't exist.'"
moon cake candy flipping: "Pro-life but not pro-kids-deserve-food."
Steve: "This is one of the 'lawmakers' who shared the phony story of litter boxes in schools so that kids 'who identified as furries' could pee in them. He also claimed to have proof of massive vote fraud in Minnesota. Short version: He's detached from reality."
Watch below or at this link.
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