Head Start, the Farm Bill, and Mr. Hurt 

(please also see this post)

One month ago this week, I and others had a chance to chat with Scott Leakey during his visit to Madison County for Congressman Bob Hurt. In our chat, Scott noted his wife’s love of teaching and how impressed he was with our local Head Start teachers so I asked him about Head Start budget cuts and their effects here and across VA. I should’ve stuck to the effect on the Congressman’s District. At any rate, I haven’t heard back from Mr. Hurt’s office but for a thank-you e-mail my response to which was rejected !

Then came the House of Representatives’ surprise vote rejecting a Farm Bill more than three years in the making that included massive cuts to Food Stamps, a critical source of food security for many 5th District families, including here.

Mr. Hurt voted against the bill and therefore also against House Republican leadership, which puzzled me. He also voted against changing the bill to restore the Food Stamps cuts. So what was his problem with the Farm Bill? I just can’t figure it out, and the only explanation I’ve found from Mr. Hurt is the following quote, which, well, doesn’t explain much: “While there are certain provisions in the Farm Bill that are important, I was unable to support the legislation because of the level of spending and the lack of policy reform. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to advance those policies that will truly support our vital agriculture sector and keep faith with future generations of Americans.”

I hope others will join me in asking Mr. Hurt to be clear with us about why he voted against the Farm Bill and also against the amendment. I also once again respectfully ask his office to respond to my request for information on the effect of cuts in VA’s Head Start program, including here.

Kit Johnston
Novum, Virginia