Ed. note: Five hundred leaders, including representatives of East Central Kansas Economic Opportunity Corporation (ECKAN), gathered in Washington, D.C., March 16, 2017, when details of President Trump’s proposed budget were made public. Richard Jackson, Chief Executive Officer of ECKAN, responded with the following statement.
By Richard Jackson, ECKAN CEO
Despite everything President Trump has promised, this is a radical right, Washington insider’s budget that does not reflect priorities that make American stronger. President Trump’s budget is tone deaf to small town mayors, the people who elected him, and every community across the U.S.
Cutting Community Services Block Grants, flexible local dollars that create opportunity for over 15 million people in every community in America, a program with bipartisan support in Congress, one that has already shifted power from the feds to local communities, harms America. Locally, the proposed cuts would prove devastating to the small communities that ECKAN serves. ECKAN programs such as food and nutrition, which distributed over 250,000 pounds of food to over 2,000 food insecure families, would undoubtedly be at risk. Likewise, ECKAN’s Stepping Stones program, which provides case management to folks working hard to lift themselves out of poverty would be devastated by these cuts. Other programs such as rental housing, Section 8 housing, volunteer engagement, Youth Action Council, and Head Start programs would also be harmed by these proposed cuts.
Perhaps, the most catastrophic cut found in the proposed budget is the cut to LIHEAP. LIHEAP is a major source of funding for ECKAN’s weatherization program. Cuts to this vital program would negatively affect hundreds of low-income residents across 14 Kansas counties. How does making hundreds of seniors, disabled people, and disadvantaged families choose between heating and eating by striking LIHEAP make America strong again? How does calling for the elimination of America’s most successful energy conservation program, Weatherization Assistance Program, make America first?
Make no mistake about it, this budget does not put America first; it puts Americans last.
For more information, contact ECKAN at 785-242-7450, or 1320 S. Ash St., Ottawa.