A recent opinion in a local paper stated that members of the current legislature need to retire. I agree, but the voters have had the ability to retire them long before they make that decision on their own. Much of the fault in government is that the people have trusted these same people time after time to do the right thing, and they have not. The idea that one legislator stated that “people are leaving the General Assembly because it is no longer fun” causes me to think that “fun” means they can no longer pull the “political wool” over the eyes of the voters. There have been times when we were unhappy with certain members of the General Assembly yet they managed to remain employed by our seeming unwillingness to pink slip them through the vote. The voters hold the key to good government.
QUINN STILL HAS FIRE
Pat Quinn, who I met in the 1970s when he was leading the Coalition for Political Honesty, is a true believer. He feels strongly about issues and it is good that he still has that reformist fire in his belly. [See “When will Quinn learn not to slam legislature?” by Rich Miller, Nov. 17.]
With regard to the legislature, where I worked briefly in the late 70s and early 80s, reconciling the upstate/downstate issue was important to me. I know I felt strongly about it. Then along came Jay Hoffman, who brought much-needed infrastructure funds to downstate. He stands as proof that if the legislature works with the governor in a professional manner, things get done.
THE PIZZA LOBBY
Congress is ordering the U.S. Department of Agriculture to consider pizza as a vegetable for school lunches. Pizza a vegetable? Yes! Pizza contains some tomato paste and Congress says that a couple of tablespoons of the stuff should count as a serving of vegetables for schoolchildren. Even if we ignore the technicality that a tomato is a fruit rather than a vegetable, this is a sad example of lawmakers putting the financial interests of the food lobby ahead of the well-being of kids.
Currently not one person ages 12-19 in this country meets the American Heart Association’s criteria for ideal cardiovascular health. Some experts predict that today’s children are not expected to live as long as their parents. At a time when trends show our nation’s health getting worse, our government has put special interests ahead of efforts to address the childhood obesity pandemic.
Children receive around 40 percent of their daily calories from school lunches. That means we must ensure healthier options are available in school cafeterias, not practice an ignorance that allows a heap of French fries to be considered a legitimate nutritional element.
The American Heart Association urges Congress to fight for an interest more important than the food industry’s profit margins: the wellness of our nation’s children. Upgrade federal school lunch programs with proper nutrition, not money, in mind.
Kathleen L. Grady, PhD, APN, FAAN
American Heart Association Illinois Advocacy Committee