Statement attributed to Jim Weill, president, Food Research & Action Center (FRAC).
WASHINGTON, January 17, 2018 — Today, former Senator Bob Dole (R-Kan.) received the Congressional Gold Medal in recognition for his service as a soldier, legislator, and statesman. FRAC is pleased to congratulate Senator Dole, a lifelong leader in the fight against hunger in the U.S. and around the world, for this well-deserved honor. His focus on bipartisanship and partnership instead of political divisiveness led to sustainable solutions that not only benefit those in need, but the country as a whole.
FRAC shares the sentiments of former U.S. Representative and Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman, who said, “Bob Dole has been an exceptional role model for me personally and for many others, especially for his work on feeding the hungry at home and abroad. His influence in these areas, and so many others, is unmatched. He embodies the spirit of the Jewish Talmud, which says that if you save one life, you save the entire world. He has spent his career doing so at home and abroad.”
Working on a bipartisan basis, and often teaming up with Senator George McGovern (D-S.D.), Senator Dole played a pivotal role in ensuring vulnerable populations received the nutrition they needed.
- Senator Dole provided crucial leadership to improve the Food Stamp Program, now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. The Dole-McGovern Food Stamp Reform Act, passed in 1975, greatly expanded participation in the program. Currently, SNAP serves 41 million households that include children, veterans, people with disabilities, seniors, and the working poor. In 2016 alone, the program lifted 3.6 million people out of poverty.
- He described the Food Stamp Program as the most important social program since Social Security, and played a key role in preventing Congress from making severe cuts to the program in the 1980s.
- He helped create the WIC program — the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children — to ensure pregnant women, new mothers, and young children are able to get the nutrition they need for optimum health.
- He helped strengthen the nation’s key child nutrition programs, including the National School Lunch Program. Thanks in part to his efforts, 21.6 million low-income children currently participate in school lunch on a typical day.
Senator Dole represented the state of Kansas in Congress from 1961 until 1996 — eight years in the U.S. House of Representatives, followed by 27 years in the U.S. Senate.
Throughout his 35 years in Congress, Senator Dole was a powerful and consistent voice for feeding hungry people. “It is intolerable to most Americans that some people are going hungry in this land,” he said when he was chair of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition. After leaving Congress, he joined with George McGovern to create the international school lunch program through the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Fund.
In 1990, FRAC presented Senator Dole with its Distinguished Service Award for his long-standing leadership in addressing hunger.
The Food Research & Action Center is the leading national nonprofit organization working to eradicate poverty-related hunger and undernutrition in the United States.