THE BLOG
01/24/2015 03:14 pm ET Updated Mar 26, 2015

An Open Letter to President Obama: For Our Children

PR / public domain of the U.S. federal government

Dear Mr. President,

Job well-done on your penultimate State of the Union address, your leadership and persistent pursuit to ensure that all Americans have access to the American dream should be commended. The policies and administrative actions that you have shepherded over the last six years have moved our country's economy in a very positive direction. Most Americans believe that the quality of our lives continues to improve, but as you noted, there is more work to do. We must work together to ensure that every citizen, no matter their zip code, sexual orientation, gender identity, or their family background, has an opportunity to work and receive a decent living wage to provide for their family.

I simply have one plea -- please, Mr. President, do not forget our children!

I quite was surprised that you did not mention opportunities for the White House and Congress to work together on child nutrition issues and The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act as national priorities for this fiscal year, particularly as Mrs. Obama has been a tireless and compassionate advocate in improving the health of our nation's children. As you know, one of these programs provides nutritious free and reduced lunches to more than twenty-one million school-aged children. Nine million women, infants, and children receive assistance through The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and other food programs. The re-authorization deadline for these programs is scheduled for September 2015.

As you might agree, part and parcel to increasing our nation's middle class means that we must do more to ensure that every child has access to high equality education, and that begins with proper nutritional options for every child. We know that hungry children have difficulty learning. Moreover, if we are to ensure that all of us, particularly our children, have the ability to work hard and succeed, we need your restated commitment for the successful re-authorization of The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act. This legislation is an opportunity to review, improve, and strengthen much-needed programs that positively impact the lives of millions of children and their mothers. Likewise, this is an excellent opportunity for the White House and Congress to successfully work together in a bipartisan manner, and supporting programs such as The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act that assist American families in rearing healthy, well-nourished children is essential to the continued economic strength and success of our country.

I remain deeply committed to advocating for resources to end hunger within the United States and around the world; especially among children. After retiring from Congress, I accepted the position of Assistant Director-General of the Food Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. In that position, I encouraged countries around the world to organize and work together to end hunger and poverty, as stipulated by the Declaration of the World Summit on Food Security. I am as committed as ever to see these goals manifest both at home and abroad, but I need you to do all that you can to work with Congress to reauthorize and strengthen The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act. Again, thank you for your steadfast leadership.