Minnesota state Republican Senator Steve Drazkowski was criticized after he voted against a measure giving free school lunches across the state, ignoring the finding 1 in 6 children in Minnesota face food insecurity.
Although the measure ultimately passed by a vote of 38-26 and is expected to be signed into law by Democratic Governor Tim Walz, Drazkowski's vote against the legislation is notable for his claim he has "yet to meet" a hungry child.
Drazkowski referred to the proposed program as "pure socialism" in remarks on the floor of the state Senate, calling hunger "a relative term." His remarks are all the more striking because federal data shows more than 8 percent of children in Wabasha County—the county he represents—lived in poverty in 2021.
You can hear what he said in the video below.
Adressing state Senate President David J. Osmek before voting against the legislation, Drazkowski said:
"Mr. President, I have yet to meet a person in Minnesota who is hungry. Yet today! I have yet to meet a person in Minnesota who says they don't have access to enough food to eat."
"Now I should say that hunger is a relative term, Mr. President. You know, I had a cereal bar for breakfast. I guess I'm 'hungry' now. That, to some... might be, maybe that's the definition in the bill."
"I don't know, I didn't see a definition for 'hunger' in the bill, Mr. President. But I think most reasonable people suggest 'hunger' means you don't have enough to eat in order to provide for metabolism and growth."
Many condemned Drazkowski's ignorant or oblivious remarks.
Drazkowski is sadly not the only Republican to make headlines for voting against free meals for hungry children.
Last year, Kansas Republican Senator Roger Marshall was scorned for threatening to block a bipartisan effort to fund school lunch programs because of a Biden administration policy banning discrimination against LGBTQ+ students in any program that receives federal nutrition money, which includes most school lunch programs.
The guidance, issued by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), requires school administrators to submit policies for combating discrimination against LGBTQ+ students.
Marshall told reporters he was "contemplating" objecting to the measure, adding that he was "just afraid that schools in Kansas won’t have school lunches because of this administration’s radical view on transgender issues."