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We must do more to fight hunger

Thank you to Andrea McDaniels for her article about food insecurity in Maryland ("Fewer Maryland families going without enough to eat," Sept. 8). The reported downward trend of Marylanders who face food insecurity — from 13 percent to 10 percent — is great news. The not-great news is that 1 in 10 of our residents is still at risk of serious hunger — and in general, these residents are our most vulnerable: children and seniors.

In addition to lower unemployment, the downward trend is a result of determined advocacy organizations like Maryland Hunger Solutions and a commitment on the part of the General Assembly to step up when the federal government has stepped back. In each of the past two sessions the General Assembly has passed legislation to ensure greater access to food for our vulnerable populations. First, in the 2016 session, the assembly passed a bill that I introduced with Sen. Richard S. Madeleno to ensure that no senior citizen in our state who qualified for SNAP (food stamps) would receive less than $30 per month. This bill marked the first time that Maryland has made its own monetary commitment to our seniors' food needs. Second, this past session Senator Madaleno and I were again grateful that the General Assembly passed our bill to allow some returning felons convicted of drug abuse to access SNAP benefits. This access will help ensure a smoother transition back to the community and result in decreased recidivism. Both bills passed with bipartisan support.

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Every year, however, bills are introduced that would make it more difficult for individuals to access food — and the General Assembly has had to guard against these efforts. Our work will be incomplete until no Marylander goes hungry, and I look forward to continuing to work with advocates around the state to see that happen.

Del. Brooke Lierman, Baltimore

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The writer, a Democrat, represents the 46th District in Baltimore City.

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