To Healthcare and Happiness

Photo by Wikimedia Commons

On the first anniversary of the Affordable Care Act’s passage, the Staten Island Democrats celebrated outside the New Dorp office of Rep. Michael Grimm.  But Grimm, a Republican, celebrated his vote to repeal the healthcare bill.

“What Obamacare does is expand the federal government’s authority, add to the national debt, and limit the freedom of Americans to choose and keep the plan they want,” Grimm said in a statement. “Obamacare must be overturned and that is why I voted to repeal it.”

Ever since Grimm burst onto the Republican political establishment in Staten Island and Brooklyn, the healthcare reform package has served as his main piñata.  And while the S.I. Dems offered ten reasons why Grimm should stop battering the bill, he has three reasons for busting it open.  The first: senior citizens.

Grimm’s second largest source of individual campaign contributions came from retired individuals, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.  And Grimm has returned the favor heartily, citing the potential backlash on seniors in much of his anti-ACA rhetoric.

“The most hurtful part of this law is the heartless cuts to Medicare,” said Grimm on his campaign website, “which impact both the seniors of Brooklyn and Staten Island and the hospitals which serve them.”

And many seniors seem to believe that as well.  A poll conducted by Extend Health revealed that 61 percent of seniors thought the healthcare reform bill weakened Medicare.  That number is likely higher in Grimm’s district.  Grimm’s predecessor, Michael McMahon, estimated that the same percentage of letters, calls and e-mails his office received during the debate were similarly negative about the bill.

In addition to weakening Medicare, Grimm says the healthcare bill will deny retirees their prescription drug coverage.  But an analysis conducted by Democrats on the Energy and Commerce committee found that repealing the bill would increase prescription drug costs for 9,600 seniors, deny new preventive care benefits to 102,000 seniors, and increase the costs of early retiree coverage for up to 10,700 early retirees.  And the 18,000 of Grimm’s constituents who are currently uninsured would remain so.

Still, Grimm claims to have an audience as large as it is disgruntled.  He cites the southwest portion of Brooklyn, which includes areas in his district, as the area with the most senior citizens in the country.  Individuals older than 55 years old represent nearly a quarter of his constituents, according to the American Community Survey.

So next time Grimm swings by the V.F.W. Hall or the Rotarian club, it may pay to demonize “Obamacare.”  Literally.

This is the first article in a series.


Hey Nydia, It’s time for a technology UPGRADE!

The D.C. in Washington might as well stand for Digital Community because it seems like the whole town is as tech savvy as can be. Congresspeople (even the older set) tweet photos and town hall meetings (often more frequently than Kim Kardashian.) The President and Mrs Obama post videos from the White House on an almost daily basis. And with the recent that rumor that former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs might be going to work for Facebook, why not drop that whole District of Columbia part.

Because there are a few folks in the capitol lagging on the digital front. And Ms Nydia Velazquez, you are definitely one of them!

So, in order to help you, Ms Velazquez, spread the word to your constituents of district 12 (of which I am one) who are definitely online, I’ve laid out a 5 point plan.

1) Update your website more often, for both press releases and multi-media. A new press releases for your site is loaded between 5 to 8 business days, which would be fine if you weren’t such a busy and active member of the house and therefore making important speeches almost daily. And the “multimedia” component of the website needs a lot of TLC, considering the most recent video comes from Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation hearing – August 2009!- and the photos are equally ancient (in new media terms, at least).

2) Get a twitter account and use it! Even this older looking Congressman from West Virginia shouts out legislation, his daily happenings, and even his birthday (which he shares with you – March 28th Happy Bday Nydia and David McKinley, though I wouldn’t have known it had he not tweeted it and then it been re-tweeted).

I know that McKinley’s twitter followers are few, the info is there for them, and so he doesn’t have to update his website (see suggestion number 1).

3) Great work on having a bilingual website, I’ll say that much. But, when you do post in English, make sure to check for spelling errors. (In a press release from March 17, the Congresswoman’s most recent, she said: “As the world’s greatest democracy, what kid (sic) of message does this war send to other nations? Do as we say, not as we do?”)

Nothing says low budget internet presence like spelling errars.

4) Nydia, it’s time to look into a better way to have your constiuents visit D.C. I’ve looked around, and this whole “visit the Capitol/or White House” section is on all Congresspeople’s websites. But, to visit any other Congressperson, all one must do is fill out the online form. On your website, a constituent must either email Jessica Garcia, or fax in a request. For one, Jessica Garcia is no longer the person to email, says the woman who answers your DC phone (Hi Gizeela!And for two, no one uses faxes anymore. Like at all.  And while this this may seem picky because you only receive like a few requests a month, says Gizeela, that might in fact be the reason you only receive a few requests a month (though, I was informed we are coming up on the busy season and if I want to visit, the tours are first-come, first serve so I need to jump on it.)

5) Hire an assistant communications director to help the current and only one, Alex Huarek. I say this because you ma’am are doing so much good work, and the 3 times I have called Mr Huarek to better understand how or why you are doing whatever you are doing (or 2 times I have emailed him) he hasn’t had the time to answer or get back. Maybe that’s because he is both your communications director and small biz committee communications director. Either way, it’s discouraging to keep leaving messages on an answering machine that never delivers.


Community Curses Cuts to Block Grant

A crowd of around 100 people gathered last week in St. Philip’s Baptist Church on Staten Island to rally against proposed cuts to a federal grant that aids the poor, seniors, immigrants and youth.

The Community Services Block Grant reaches about 800 people on Staten Island through eight community based organizations.  Some Republican proposals in the House suggested fully eliminating the grant, but even President Obama, a former community organizer himself, called for cutting the $700 million grant by half.

City officials from the Department of Youth and Community Development, the agency that distributes the federal grant money, described how the cuts could potentially deprive the Island of $600,000, but the crowd wanted to hear from the man who would vote on them—Rep. Michael Grimm. Local resident Sharon Peake grew frustrated with city officials, and called for Grimm’s representative, who sat in the front row, to step up.

“He shouldn’t be here just to listen,” said Peake.  “He should be here to answer the questions that you all can’t answer.”

A reluctant William Smith, Grimm’s communications director, stepped before the crowd, but offered little by way of answers, except that he heard a lot of negative feedback.

“Congressman Grimm has not made a decision yet,” said Smith.  “We don’t have a position.

Grimm will now have more time to make that decision, thanks to a temporary spending measure passed by Congress last week that will keep the government operating until April.   But if the crowd at St. Philip’s serves as an indicator, residents of the Island’s North Shore are growing impatient.  Organizers encouraged members of the audience to join in the letter-writing campaign Grimm, along with Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.

“CSBG creates programs that offer people a hand up in life,” the letter states,  “not a hand out.  Without your support of this program, many people in need in our community would be at risk.”


The Fight Against the Fight Against Spending

Wasteful spending is bad. Except maybe when it’s not.

That’s what some members of Congress are saying now that the ban on earmarks is in place. In November of last year, Republicans made a vow to ban earmarks, a motion offered under unanimous consent by former Real World house member and current Republican House member Sean Duffy.

“Anyone who’s been listening to the American people can tell you that banning earmarks is a no-brainer,” Duffy said in an Op-Ed to Politico. “Throughout the year, Americans clamored for Washington to stop spending and start focusing on creating jobs. But Americans weren’t being heard.”

This came right around the time that Democrats proposed their own ban on earmarks for corporations.  In fact, President Obama famously said in his State of the Union address, “if a bill comes to my desk with earmarks in it, I will veto it.” The idea is that earmarks are wasteful spending, and in an economic downturn we should do everything we can to cut spending.

While the banning of earmarks is well underway, members of Congress have found other ways to get projects done: just straight up ask for it. Legislators have found a way around the earmark ban by going directly to the agencies involved in handing out the money.

Last Tuesday, an article ran in the Queens Courier about new funding for a YMCA program in Flushing. The $1.1 million grant was provided directly by the Department of Labor, via direct lobbying from Senator Chuck Schumer. And in January, Gary Ackerman petitioned another Queens project–a VA hospital in St. Albans– to the secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Republicans are in on the game as well. Rep. Peter King, who is no stranger to earmarks himself, says the ability to reach out to these organizations is now very important now that the ban is in place.

“I will do everything I can to protect my district,” he told the Times.

While “earmark” can be a bad word when uttered by politicians in public, it makes sense that a lot of politicians would feel the way King does. For Gary Ackerman or Peter King to come out and say they’re against earmarks is like saying they’re against securing money for their districts.

Beyond just taking funds away from congressional districts, banning earmarks does little to reduce spending in the big picture, so the entire idea of banning earmarks in order to get tough on spending is no more than a game. And why should multi-term incumbents have to play?

Buses don’t kill people, overworked drivers do

In the week that has passed since a Chinatown bus returning from Mohegan Sun Casino crashed on the highway in the Bronx and killed 15 passenger, buses are on the brain. I’ve overheard many personal accounts in bathrooms, restaurants and yoga class of experiences on these buses that traverses the North Eastern Seaboard for a fraction of price charged by major bus companies.

Many stories were similar to the audience input during a  segment of “The Call,” (a live show on New York 1 hosted by CUNY J School Prof John Schiumo) last Tuesday devoted to the Chinatown bus cash.

I travel the I 95 corridor all the time (New England Thruway). These Casino buses are always traveling at speeds of at least 70 to 80MPH. ….They are very aggressive,” wrote in one listener.

“On my trip to Baltimore on Friday, the Bolt Bus I was on was pulled over. Not only was he going 80 on a somewhat congested New Jersey Thruway, tailgating, swerving, and weaving in and out of traffic – he was also drunk! We must have far greater safeguards in place. It appears there is no regulations in place,” said another person.

And on the other side of the argument, were comments like:

“I travel the Chinese bus every other weekend to see my children. I don’t know that I could do it if the price was hiked up. I have to be honest, I use the same company every time and I have never felt fear for my safety. But I have ridden a Mega Bus to Pittsburgh and I definitely could feel the speed on that bus. I do believe in regulation but there are so many people in the same boat as me who would not be able to travel without these discount travel services.”

The day before this show, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez and Senator Chuck Schumer called on the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to “broadly investigate safety regulations that govern the discount tour bus industry.”

“The low-cost intercity bus travel industry along the Northeast Corridor has expanded rapidly in recent years and it appears safety regulations haven’t kept pace.  There needs to be a thorough, extensive review of all rules governing these bus operators, so we ensure tragedies like the one on Saturday don’t happen again,” Ms Velazquez said in a press statement.

Would regulation improve the situation? City Councilman James Vacca, Chairman of Public Transportation Committee says federal regulation, because the buses travel interstate and are under federal authority, would be a start.

” I do believe that the MTS and the city of NY have regulations over vehicles under their jurisdiction and that the federal government would be wise to adopt over an industry that has seemed to avoid meaningful oversight to date,” Mr. Vacca wrote in an email.

“I appreciate the Senator and Congresswoman speaking out but while any legislation is an improvement, it is the federal dot that should be instituting administrative and regulatory reform and I find their silence to date deafening,” Vacca wrote.

So why are Velazquez and Schumer pressing the issue?

I think in Schumer’s case, his wife Iris Weinshall, a former NYC DOT Commissioner, might have suggested he speak out against the NTSB’s lagging regulation. And for Nydia, who appeared on Good Day New York to (basically) reiterate her press release of a growing industry that has outpaced regulation, one can suspect that her district boundaries, which includes Chinatown, could be the motivation to get involved.

Before Schumer and Velazquez took interest in the crashes, the conversation was geared toward the bus driver’s criminal history, more than a faulty system. The two politicians brought it back to a macro level and even the NTSB’s investigation, which found that the driver was fatigued, suggests a larger problem requiring a nuanced solution.

Toward the end of “The Call” segment devoted to the crash, an email in all caps was sent to the show that read,



Mr. Ackerman Goes to Washington

In January, Gary Ackerman made news by being openly critical about J Street, the liberal-minded non-profit organization whose purpose, they say, is to advocate for a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Ackerman’s critique was about the organization’s recommendation to the Obama administration to not veto a U.N. resolution condemning Israel.

In an emotional press release, Ackerman said that the organization’s “brains had fallen out.”

“America really does need a smart, credible, politically active organization that is as aggressively pro-peace as it is pro-Israel,” Ackerman said. “Unfortunately, J-Street ain’t it.”

There was another line in the press release that I thought was peculiar, but I didn’t pick up on it right away. Ackerman said that J-Street is “not an organization with which I wish to be associated.” At the time, I thought this was just a way to grab attention by putting himself in the middle of a situation he had nothing to do with.

Imagine my surprise while perusing Ackerman’s donor list. In the number two slot, by no more than a few hundred dollars, was the J Street PAC.

This struck me as an interesting turn, since on the surface Ackerman agrees with J Street’s main objective of a two-state solution. He even drafted a letter with Charles Boustany (R-LA) in 2007, urging former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to invest more in the Mideast peace process, a move praised by J Street and other pro-peace organizations.

So why the attack on a former donor?

A cynical person might say that Ackerman doesn’t really care so much about Israel, and that his concern only goes as far as his reelection chances. As the representative from New York’s 5th congressional district, Ackerman represents neighborhoods where the populations are a lot of older Jewish people, including Jamaica Estates in Queens, which has a large Orthodox population. Much as with his anger over Bernie Madoff, Ackerman could be playing to his base.

But a less cynical person might say Gary Ackerman just stands by his beliefs. I find myself coming back to this a lot. Ackerman is a tough guy to figure out: he’s been in congress since before I was born, so his seat seems pretty safe. I gather he could probably sit back and do nothing with his time in office, but he continually puts himself in the center of foreign policy issues, and not always in ways that would necessarily have immediate benefit to him. If he was pandering to a large older, Jewish base, why not take a more conservative stance on Israel? For that matter, why take a pro-revolutionary stance on Egypt? With a miniscule Arab population in his district, why take any stance at all?

And that’s just it: he doesn’t really have to, but he does anyway. We might have just stumbled across the rare politician without an ulterior motive.

Although, my friend Lily had another theory as to why the 68-year-old Ackerman might have criticized a former donor.

“Maybe he forgot,” she said.


Nanny State? Might not be so bad.

During an after-work workout rush at the gym on Friday, I was surprised to land a treadmill with a TV. It was super crowded, and only certain machines had TVs attached.

Lo and behold the TV had one channel, and so I watched C-Span in all it’s monotonous glory. But it gets better.

The House Appropriations Subcommittee was going through the proposed 2012 budget for the FDA, which President Obama requested to be increased by 30% from it’s current $4.3 Billion annually. The Subcommittee’s Chairman, Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) though that was more money than the FDA needed, and told the agency’s Commissioner who was testifying, Margaret Hamburg M.D., exactly why he thought so.

To summarize Kingston’s argument, one look no further than the goal of his party: bringing down the deficit by cutting this year’s budget by $400 million.

Now this by itself is not that interesting. What is interesting was how Kingston talked about cutting the budget for “FDA projects” that he believed shouldn’t be regulated by the government at all, using the phrase Nanny State over and over to make his point.

In a time when partisan lines are drawn with permanent marker, and loaded language reflects that division, I think I’ve found my favorite term: Nanny State.

I <3 *HEART* this term.

Wikipedia has heard of Nanny State and says it was probably coined by a Conservative British politician in a 1965 op-ed column. But, like most phrases, it has changed and continues to morph with each person who thinks on it.

I never had a Nanny, but I always imagined life with one. So, with that in mind, my idea of a “nanny” state could go a few different ways. One would be a full-figured, older woman who waits at the bus stop for you after school. Over a healthy snack back at your house, she asks you about your day and helps you with your homework ’til your parents get home. Like, Mrs. Doubtfire.

The other option, which is a of a stretch, is the “Nana” character in Disney’s Peter Pan. Though she isn’t a human, Mr. and Mrs. Darling fully entrust the care of their children to the watchful eye this collie, Nana. (The argument could be made that the eldest daughter Wendy Darling is watching the children, too, but the dialogue between Mrs. Darling and Nana proves that the primary care task goes to the Dog.)

In either fantasy example, the kids are better cared for and better adjusted because of a Nanny or Nana.

In terms of cutting each congressional budget by 5% in 2011, something Nydia Velazquez – who didn’t have a Nanny growing up either – and most of the other liberal congressman don’t agree with, Nanny’s make for large expenses. Just like a Nanny in a home, it dips into a family’s budget in a real way. And so logically it follows that when a family’s budget needs to be cut, it can help ends meet.

But maybe, as Ms Velazquez has shown herself to believe, the budget isn’t the bottom line. Raising a good child, she would argue is. And in a perfect world, parents can take care of their children by themselves. But in the absence of good parents, a good Nanny (such as the FDA) might not be so bad.

Could the Budget Battle Stifle a “Wave of Freedom”?

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

In a press release last week, Gary Ackerman continued his unrelenting support of the uprisings taking place throughout the Middle East.

While speaking specifically about Moammar Gadhafi, whose actions the congressman called “inexcusable and criminal,” Ackerman also called for broader U.S. support throughout the region.

“A wave of freedom is blowing through the Middle East,” Ackerman said in the release, “and the United States must stand with the people of the region who are demanding nothing more than the political and civil rights we Americans enjoy everyday: the right to free speech and assembly, equality before the law and a government accountable to the people who elect it.”

At a Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on Wednesday, committee chair John Kerry and Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton echoed that sentiment.

“We have joined the Libyan people in demanding Gadhafi must go — now without further violence or bloodshed,” Clinton said.

This speaks to the broader point Clinton was getting at: promoting stronger foreign support in order to serve our strategic interests and protect the United States’ national security. Clinton notes, for example, that not supporting Afghanistan during the Cold War may have cost us in the long run by creating a less stable country.

But one avenue of that support Ackerman, Kerry and Clinton are calling for is coming under attack by the GOP: foreign aid spending. Last month, the House passed the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act which the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition says will cut the International Affairs Budget by 19 percent for fiscal year 2011.

“There is something about these cuts that does violence to the Judeo-Christian ethic so many people claim to uphold,” Kerry said last week.

Ackerman, for his part, voted against the cuts in the House. According to CQ, the congressman sees this time of upheaval as a chance to support Democracy in the region.

“There’s an opportunity here that we’ve never sensed,” Ackerman was quoted as saying. “This is a new generation of people. . . . They have dreams, and they’re looking to us to help them.”

Run Right, Lead Left

Source: Wikimedia Commons

It sounds like that old bit from Sesame Street.  One of these things just doesn’t belong.

On Friday, Michael Grimm joined Queens democrats Anthony Weiner and Gregory Meeks in endorsing of the “Residential and Commuter Toll Fairness Act,” which would allow State and local governments to grant discounts to local residents who use bridges, tunnels and other forms of transportation.  Grimm hopes to protect the discount enjoyed by Staten Islanders who use the Verrazano Bridge, the only bridge connecting the Island to the other four boroughs.

“The simple truth is that Staten Islanders pay exorbitant tolls to subsidize mass transit for other parts of our region,” said Grimm in a statement. “We face the longest commutes in the nation and we receive little transit assistance for carrying that toll burden.”

Non-residents pay $13 in cash to enter Staten Island, while residents pay $7.72.  Commuters using EZ-Pass pay $9.60 compared to $5.76 for residents.  Several cases appearing in federal court have contemplated the constitutionality of these discounts.

Residents of Grand Island, NY may lose a discount on bridge tolls if a federal judge in New York’s Second District deems the $0.66 discount unconstitutional.  And a federal judge in Rhode Island could rule in a similar case as early as next week.  The legal offensive against toll discounts has prompted Grimm, along with Weiner and Gregory Meeks (D-Queens) to introduce legislation this week in the House.  Senator Charles Schumer introduced matching legislation in the Senate.

The idea of Grimm co-sponsoring a piece of legislation with one of the most liberal members of Congress may unsettle some, but Grimm laughed in an interview with the Staten Island Advance when he cited his alliance with Weiner as a sign of his independence.  And just as transportation has become a central issue for Grimm, the VZ Bridge has become a central irritant for Staten Islanders.

The opening of the bridge in 1964 was a pivotal moment in the cultivation of Staten Island’s identity as a suburb.  It allowed for many residents to live in the suburbs while commuting to the city.

“The Verrazano Bridge changed everything,” said Patricia Salmon, the curator of the Staten Island Museum.

It stood as world’s largest suspension bridge until 1981, until the Humber Bridge in the bloody United Kingdom surpassed it.  Yet in recent years, Islanders have complained about the backups leaving the Island, and the tolls they pay entering it.

Staten Islanders, who have the longest commute time in the nation, have increasingly found work within the borough, but still, 29 percent of Islanders commute to Manhattan for work while only 8 percent use mass transit, according to a recently published study by the Center for an Future.

So while Grimm entered office as a rebuke to the Democratic policies, his effort to preserve the toll discount drives directly at the daily routine of a significant number of Staten Islanders.  Some relief for drivers at the toll-booth may translate into relief at the voting booth for Grimm, even if he has to build bridges with the opposition.

Invest in education from the Head Start, reminds Nydia

Cutting federal funding to pre-school for the poorest (and youngest) Americans is a rotten idea, says Nydia Velazquez.

On February 18, Congresswoman Velazquez delivered a statement regarding the proposed budget cuts to education in the Fiscal Year 2011 Continuing Appropriations Act and said, “New York City Head Start would lose almost $30 million in funding under this bill. As we build a workforce for the future, cutting services that prepare children to learn is not just immoral, it is unwise.”

But why?

According to Nina Piros, the Director of Childhood Programs at University Settlement’s Early Childhood Center in the Lower East Side whose Head Start has 170 students, for most of these kids, there is no other option.

To qualify for Head Start, a federally funded program run by Department of Health and Human Services that started in 1965, a family must be at 100% poverty line. For a family of four, that means an income of $22,050.

“Without subsidized childcare, many these children (who were born in the US) would be sent back to their parent’s countries to stay with some relative there until they reach public school age.” (70% of the children at University Settlement Head Start from East Asian countries, mainly China) “This is very common and it is traumatic for a child,” says Piros

Another option, Piros says, is they’d stay with an elder family member in the family’s small apartment in the city. But either way, when they reached public school, they’d be socially, academically, and linguistically delayed.

“What this does is push the cost of child services down the line,” says Piros. “We teach school readiness. And, the research shows that Head Start alum are less likely to drop out and also be involved in criminal activity. Families want their kids in our program. We have 400 children on the waiting list.”

It’s hard to imagine one of the little folks running around a sunny corner classroom at University Settlement as a hardened criminal. On a recent visit, I caught a glimpse of morning “free play” time: healthy 3 and 4 year olds engaged in various activities, all in English. Some were drawing the letters in their names on thick lined paper, others pretending to read books, narrating each illustration with their own words, and a few late comers were finishing up breakfast (oatmeal and orange slices) with a classroom “grandparent”.

(Not only does each class have multiple teachers, teacher’s aides, and parent volunteers – all part of the Head Start philosophy of family involvement – there are elder community members who work 20 hours a week in the classrooms through a program run by the NYC Department for the Aging.)

At one point, a group of three girls holding hands get a little rough with their dancing and someone falls down. As the fallen pigtailed 3 year old begins to whimper and the other two look around guiltily, a teacher steps in to begin what can only be described as a teaching moment. This is really how young minds learn to interact and socialize appropriately and effectively, I find myself thinking.

But it is even more than that, say development specialists.

“Head Start is effective. As a comprehensive child development program, Head Start provides education, health, nutrition, and social services to children and their families…. and produces substantial long-term benefits. ” wrote W. Steven Barnett, PhD, Director of the National Institute for Early Education Research in a paper presented in a congressional Science and Public Policy hearing in 2002.

The Head Start at 120 year old University Settlement House, began in 1967. Piros says that each year it receives $1.2 million in federal funding, which covers roughly 112 children. And the rest, $650,000 is provided by city and state money and covers 61 children. She says in New York, rent is usually one of the largest part of a pre-school’s budget, but in her school’s case, the University Settlement House owns the facilities and don’t have to worry about that.

But, just last month, the program received a huge blow to funding. In an effort to reduce its budget, the City changed a family’s income qualification from 275% over the poverty line to 200%, and tacked on a 9 year time limit to access the free pre-school. Piros says 10 spots were thus cut from her school and 10 kids were told they couldn’t come back.

“We’ve had cuts before, but never this big,” Piros said. And with federal funding set to be cut now too, things are looking grim. Piros says this must be why Nydia spoke up at the budget hearing last month.

“Nydia has been a strong supporter of Head Start for years. She is committed to low-income services and working with community-based organizations. I think she understands how it ultimately benefits everyone.”

If the opposite is true, then, reducing the size and impact of Head Start in the community would be a disadvantage for everyone, too.