By Patricia Beebe, President and CEO
Over the next several days, more than 1,100 anti-hunger advocates from across the country will gather in Washington D.C. for the annual Anti-Hunger Policy Conference. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to introduce Delaware’s own, Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester, at yesterday’s welcoming plenary session. In true Lisa Blunt Rochester fashion, she was electrifying. We are so thankful to call her our Congresswoman.
She is committed, compassionate, hard-working, possesses great skills as a political strategist, is honest and always seeks the moral high ground. The good news is her abilities have been recognized in Washington and the recognition of her talents gives me great reason to hope that our policymakers will start to get it right. She was proud to stand up and tell her story during the Farm Bill negotiations in the House Agriculture Committee. This message resonated with many members of the Congress, and most importantly she continued to bring up the issues we all know so well. Lisa has assumed a leadership role in this Congress as Assistant Whip and is committed to remaining a champion of our issues in her new role.
I am thankful that the Food Bank of Delaware got the chance to share Lisa’s tenacity with our hunger-fighting colleagues yesterday.
She opened with a quote from Norman Borlaug, “Food is the moral right of all who are born into this world.”
Lisa understands our shared vision of a community free of hunger. Like she said in yesterday’s remarks she’s “got our backs!”
“At church we do a call and response,” she said. “I’m gonna call, ‘We’re not going back,’ and you’re gonna say, ‘Cause you’ve got my back.'”
The audience erupted. “We’re not going back, cause you’ve got my back.”
“Some people want to take us back. Some people want to build walls, want to talk about hate. Want to cut people off of SNAP. We’re not going back,” she said.
Lisa does have our backs. She demonstrates this with her commitment to serve people – all people.
As a member of the House Agriculture Committee in the last Congress, Lisa played an important role in formulating policy that is important in addressing food insecurity in our nation.
Upon her election to Congress, Lisa told the Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee,”We have more chickens than people in my state. I need to be on the ag committee.”
Lisa credited the work of advocates for ensuring that SNAP work requirements did not make it into the final version of the recently-passed Farm Bill.
“People want to work. Many people on SNAP do work so let’s dispel some myths,” she pointed out. “I told the Chairman… ‘What you are proposing is underfunded and untested.'”
“I know what it’s like… that’s why I’ve got your back,” she explained.
Lisa left all of us in that room energized to continue our fight for America’s most-vulnerable. Folks were still talking about our Congresswoman at this morning’s breakfast. Thank you, Lisa, for your energy, drive and commitment to serve. We are thankful for you.
To view the Congresswoman’s empowering speech on Facebook Live, please click here.