Rep. Jim McGovern Addresses “Hunger in the U.S.”: “Solvable if We Have the Political Will to Do It”
“Close to 50 million of our fellow citizens are hungry. Almost 17 million of them are children,” Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA) told a standing room only audience. He came to Trinity’s campus on September 29 to address “Hunger in the U.S.” and he discussed solutions to hunger and poverty. His talk was sponsored by the Billiart Center for Social Justice at Trinity and students, faculty, staff and SNDs in the Trinity community gathered to hear the Congressman’s powerful remarks. “Hunger is relatively solvable,” he said, “if we had the political will to do it. …Trillions of dollars are spent on wars, but ‘we’re broke’ is the response on relief of hunger.” Watch his full remarks here.
Congressman McGovern is engaged deeply in work for social justice and human rights. He has a particular concern for those who are hungry and works to preserve federal programs which assist people in poverty. He is one of a few members of Congress who tried to live on food stamps for a month. This past summer he spent an overnight in a homeless shelter in Worcester, Massachusetts, to see what life is like for the guests of a shelter. (He slept on a couch so as not to take a cot that could be used by a guest.) Because of actions like these, and his rigorous political analysis, he is esteemed by many in his district and beyond.
Since his election in 1996, Congressman Jim McGovern has been widely recognized as a tenacious advocate for his district, a tireless crusader for change, and an unrivaled supporter for social justice and fundamental human rights. Currently serving his ninth term in Congress, McGovern serves as the second ranking Democrat on the powerful House Rules Committee, which sets the terms for debate and amendments on most legislation; and a member of the House Agriculture Committee. In those roles, McGovern has secured millions of dollars in federal grants and assistance for Massachusetts. McGovern is also co-chair of both the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and the House Hunger Caucus. He also serves as Co-Chair of the Northeast Midwest Congressional Coalition. Over the past 16 years, McGovern has consistently delivered millions of dollars for jobs, vital local and regional projects, small businesses, public safety, regional and mass transportation projects, and affordable housing around Massachusetts. McGovern has authored important legislation to increase Pell Grant funding to allow more students access to higher education; to provide funds to preserve open space in urban and suburban communities; and to give tax credits to employers who pay the salaries of their employees who are called up to active duty in the Guard and Reserves. A strong proponent of healthcare reform, his legislative efforts included reducing the cost of home health care, giving patients the dignity to be cared for in their own homes with the help of medical professionals. McGovern voted against the initial authorization of force in Iraq in 2002, and has been among the most prominent Congressional voices on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. McGovern introduced a bipartisan, bicameral bill calling for a flexible timetable for withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan as a matter of national security and fiscal responsibility. McGovern has also taken a leadership role in the fight against hunger at home and abroad, successfully expanding the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, which helps alleviate child hunger and poverty by providing nutritious meals to children in schools in the world’s poorest countries. McGovern is one of the leading voices in Congress fighting to overturn Citizens United, and has become one of the main advocates in the fight against corporate personhood. Before his election to Congress, McGovern spent 14 years working as a senior aide for the late U.S. Representative John Joseph Moakley (D-South Boston), former dean of the Massachusetts delegation and Chairman of the House Rules Committee. In 1989, McGovern was the lead investigator on the Moakley Commission Congressional Investigation into the murders of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter in 1989. The investigation ultimately led to a seminal change in U.S. foreign policy towards El Salvador when determined that the Salvadoran military was implicated in the murders. That landmark determination led to future military aid from the U.S. being conditioned on an improved human rights record. Jim McGovern was born on November 20, 1959, in Worcester, the son of two successful small business owners. His two sisters are elementary school teachers in Worcester’s public school system. McGovern earned his bachelor of arts (’81) and master of public administration (’84) degrees from The American University, working his way through college by serving as an aide in the office of U.S. Senator George McGovern (D-SD). He went on to manage Senator McGovern’s 1984 Presidential campaign in Massachusetts, and delivered his nomination speech during the 1984 Democratic National Convention in San Francisco.