Ohio kids need programs

Growing up in East Liverpool, I have to take care of myself a lot of the times. Both my parents struggle with addiction, which is all too common in our area.

It has been up to me to get myself breakfast, lunch and dinner, to make sure I go to the doctor if I was sick, and to make sure I have a safe place to live.

Programs like federal food aid, Medicaid and housing assistance help keep me afloat.

I don’t know where I’d be today without help getting these basics, but I probably wouldn’t be an Honor Roll student at QDA High School and an active volunteer in my community. So, I’m very worried about the budget proposal released by President Trump last week. He wants to cut the very programs that help me, especially during the toughest times. He proposes taking $213 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which helps me get enough to eat. He wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act and cut Medicaid, which gives me access to health care, just like it does for seniors, people with disabilities, families with kids, and more. Trump would cut funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development by 14 percent next year. Without housing assistance, I’d struggle to have a roof over my head.

And I’m not alone – certainly not in my community. Congressional District 6, represented by U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, has thousands of kids like me who rely on these programs. Nearly 22,700 households with kids under the age of 18 depend on SNAP to put food on the table. More than 62,500 kids rely on Medicaid for health coverage. Federal housing assistance makes sure more than 3,550 households with kids have a place to live.

Rep. Johnson voted for the tax overhaul which cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans. But most of the people he represents in District 6 won’t be raking in the dough. Many more will be hurt as the president and his allies in congress look to pay for those tax cuts by slashing funding from SNAP, Medicaid, housing assistance and more.

Someday, I hope to be successful and happy. Kids like me want to do well. We want to grow up, have good lives, get a job and raise a family. We want to make give back to our communities.

But we just can’t do that if we can’t get enough to eat, can’t see a doctor when we’re sick and don’t have a place to call home. Trump’s budget would pull the rug out from under our hopes and dreams. Rep. Johnson voted for the tax bill.

I wish he hadn’t. But he still has a chance to look out for the best interest of kids like me who live in his district and oppose cuts to these programs.

If I could meet him, I’d ask: is a $1.5 trillion tax cut worth my future? I can’t imagine he’d look me in the eye and say it is.

Margaret Anne Cook lives in East Liverpool, Ohio.