If Given the Chance: What Would You Say to Your U.S. Senator or Congressman?

2017-03-29

Register for SNA's 2017 Legislative Action Conference (LAC)

The following is the sixth in a series of news stories exploring the exciting events at LAC.

As an informed SNA member, who is passionate about providing nutritious meals to your students, what would you say to your U.S. Senator or Representative if you only had 15 minutes in their Capitol Hill office? What legislative issues would you talk about, or better yet, do you know what to say?

As many of you prepare to take part in the Charge to the Hill Day to Capitol Hill at SNA’s Legislative Action Conference (LAC), on April 4, it is important to remember that you are the expert on child nutrition and you are the one who sees first-hand how federal legislation and regulations impact your programs. As the face and the voice of school nutrition, your U.S. Senators or Representative need to not only hear positive stories about school meal programs but also understand what federal legislation supports or denies the funding needed to help your students continue to receive a healthy lunch or breakfast.

Based on responses from your membership survey, SNA’s Public Policy & Legislation Committee this February, crafted the 2017 Position Paper that will chart the course for the Association’s federal advocacy efforts. As many of you are aware, the 115th Congress took its oath of office and was sworn in on January 3, 2017. With a new Congress and many new Committee Chairs, each working on new legislation and policy involving issues surrounding child nutrition, SNA is at square one with many of these entities. Therefore, the purpose of the Position Paper is to lay the foundation for SNA’s future legislative and advocacy efforts.

The 2017 Position Paper will be the focus of SNA’s 45th Annual Legislative Action Conference, which runs from April 2-4, 2017 in Washington, D.C. SNA members are encouraged to visit the LAC Resources page for Position Papertalking points and other tools to help advocate on behalf of school meal programs.

“Through the Charge the Hill Day on Capitol Hill, myself and the Massachusetts Delegation, have been able to develop a personal relationship with our Congressman Jim McGovern,” said Judy White, food service director at Wrentham Public School, who also serves as the SNA Northeast Region Representative. “He will listen to us; he might not agree with us on everything, but he knows that we are on the front line of serving good nutritious healthy food to our kids.”

The 2017 Position Paper takes a firm stand in opposition to any effort to use block grants to fund school meal programs and calls for greater support to preserve the financial stability of school meal programs. To strengthen and support the School Breakfast Program, SNA requests an increase of 6 cents in USDA Foods for every school breakfast served. To ease menu planning challenges and appeal to diverse student tastes, SNA asks Congress and USDA to maintain Target 1 sodium levels and restore the initial requirement that at least half of grains offered through school meals be whole grain rich. SNA also calls for an independent study of federal Child Nutrition Programs to reduce regulatory and administrative complexities.

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