Scrambling over the food-stamp program didn’t come out of nowhere. Yet here in the state with some of the highest hunger rates and “food insecure” households in the nation, state officials continue to blame the national recession for their backlogged and error-riddled food-stamp system.
In a recent interview with the Austin American-Statesman, William Ludwig, a Dallas-based regional administrator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service dismissed the state defense.
“All states are feeling the pinch right now because of the economic recession, but I'm not aware of any state that is having it to the degree that Texas is," Ludwig said, adding that Texas’ woes date back to the firing of thousands of state workers years back and privatization efforts.
Local hunger activists on the frontlines agree.
“They fired the workers that knew what they were doing and hired a lot of workers who don’t know what they are doing,” said Eunise Sierra, of the Coalition of Concerned Citizens for Consumers Welfare in San Antonio.
Former Health and Human Services Commissioner Albert Hawkins was appointed by Texas Governor Rick Perry back in 2002. Hawkins fired thousands of state employees and outsourced key elements of the food stamp and other low-income assistance programs to Bermuda-based Accenture. While problems became apparent quickly, and the Accenture deal fell to other companies, Perry stood by Hawkins, who was able retired to applause in May — before federal fines were threatened and a class-action lawsuit put the issue in the nation’s spotlight.
Here’s the state’s send-off:
South Texas political blogs
Jon's Jail Journal
B and B
Dig Deeper Texas
The Walker Report
Grits for Breakfast
San Antonio Politics (Express-News)
Off the Kuff
South Texas Chisme
Rhetoric & Rhythm
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