State Rep. Mandela Barnes won’t forget his time on food stamps

I have a ton of respect for Democratic State Rep. Mandela Barnes.

“When I was on food stamps, I had a job. And I tell people that all the time. I am not ashamed to say that there was a time where I received food stamps,” Barnes said on WEKZ-FM (97.3).

“I still have my Quest card, actually, in my bathroom, so when I wake up and brush my teeth in the morning, I’m reminded it was not that long ago that I was in that position.

“That’s why I feel my opinion is very valid. I was employed when I received food stamps. My hours were cut at the job that I was working. And the funny thing is, the place I worked provided job training, which is the irony of it all.”

As someone who has some experience with the social safety net, I absolutely can echo Rep. Barnes’ point that there are many among us who receive help from the social safety net who are actually working hard and trying to dig themselves out of the hole they’re in, and it’s a sad commentary on where we are as a society that individuals holding a full-time job can actually be below the poverty line.


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