Although I am not her constituent, I would like to express my thanks to Congresswoman Chellie Pingree for her vote with the strong bipartisan majority of the House to defeat the onerous changes to the Farm Bill. Those changes, including new restrictions on the ability of those most vulnerable to access life-saving benefits such as participation in the SNAP food security program, would have been particularly devastating to older rural Mainers.

Maine has a very high rate of food insecurity among older adults, especially in the most rural corners of our state. It is important to note that Maine is both the oldest and most rural state in the eastern United States. We hear arguments about the dignity of work, but that sentiment doesn’t always match the reality of limited access to places of employment for people in former mill towns of northern and eastern Maine.

Older rural Mainers not yet eligible for Social Security and Medicare benefits would have been most at risk had the bill passed, but fortunately the will of the people prevailed. Older Mainers appreciate the support of Pingree on this critical issue.

William Phillips, M.D.

AARP Maine Advisory Council volunteer


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