Protect our anti-poverty programs

Donald Trump will become President on Jan. 20. Not only Obamacare is under threat of repeal.

Congress will likely attempt to make radical changes in the social safety net, dismantling SNAP (formerly food stamps) and Medicaid. These programs allow millions of people nationwide and thousands in Washington state to make ends meet every day.

Census information shows that 12.2 percent of Washingtonians live below the poverty line. In Kitsap County, the percentage is 9.9 percent, but it is 16.9 percent in Mason County. The national average is 15 percent. Eighteen percent, or 276,230 Washington children, live in poverty and are eligible for Medicaid, compared with 22 percent nationwide. Federal anti-poverty programs have allowed millions of Americans to move out of poverty.

The most important tools we have left at this point are our free press and the voice of our people. We need in-depth news coverage of the implications of losing these programs. Our representatives need to hear from constituents about how important these programs are in the lives of children, families and the elderly in our communities.

Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, and Representatives Derek Kilmer and Denny Heck, are supportive of these programs. They need our thanks and strong evidence of our support in the face of the challenges they face in this new Congress. Write a letter to the editor and/or contact your member of Congress to protect these programs.

Alan Newberg