Why those in need have cellphones
Re: Jones letter, Dec. 14
Thank you for asking this question; this presents an excellent opportunity to discuss the reality of poverty and the disparity in understanding that exists in our community. On a daily basis, I work with individuals who work full time, make sound economic decisions and still are unable to make ends meet.
This cycle of poverty often leads to chronic food insecurity, meaning that they are continuously unable or struggling to identify adequate resources to meet their families’ need for food. This need is addressed in our community in the following ways: SNAP benefits (If they qualify, many working families do not), food pantries, The Food Group, the Lunch Together program, The Hub’s low-cost meals, Meals on Wheels and food vouchers/gift cards from charitable or religious organizations. These are a few examples of programs that our community members who “can’t afford food” seek out to ensure that despite their economic shortcomings, that they and their families have their basic need for nourishment met.
It may seem obvious to simply use your phone bill money to buy food, but this is not a sustainable solution for a family, who despite their best efforts, live in a reality where they are chronically unable to make ends meet. Many community members supplement the burden of monthly costs by regularly visiting food pantries around town; this alleviates some spending from their budget and allows for other needs to be met. This reliance on help in the form of food becomes their reality.
It is a basic need in today’s society to have access to a telephone. To function in our society in a way that is economically beneficial it is almost impossible to do so without a telephone. If you are homeless, jobless and without transportation but have a telephone at least you have a way to reach out for help. Individuals experiencing poverty face many barriers and have a diminished ability to make their voices heard. Being unable to access a telephone is an additional unnecessary barrier as there are many very affordable telephone options, even in the smartphone variety.
On a daily basis, I work with some of the most vulnerable populations in Sheridan by connecting them to resources they need. The ones that I cannot assist are those I cannot reach. Eliminating access to a telephone and the internet creates additional, unnecessary difficulties and only further reduces one’s chance of successfully exiting their economic situation.
The overall idea behind this response is simply to say that people in our community should not have to choose between being connected to the outside world and functioning as regular members of society or providing food for their families. Rather than standing in judgment of our fellow citizens, shouldn’t we advocate for a better quality of life for all who share this place we call home?
Registered nurse with Sheridan County Public Health
An open letter to Wyoming senators, representatives
Re: Sexual harassment
My wife and I are sickened to find out that Congress has been utilizing taxpayer money to settle discrimination and sexual harassment allegations against its members and staff. I understand that in 1995 the Congressional Accountability Act was enacted into law requiring the U.S. Congress and its agencies to follow many of the same civil rights, labor and workplace safety and health laws that individuals, businesses and the federal government are required to follow.
The bill, passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, was appropriate in principal but has been perverted by Congress. We now know that approximately $17.2 million has been paid to settle 268 workplace disputes since 1995. Many of these disputes have been discrimination and sexual harassment claims against congressmen and individuals in their agencies.
So, what we have is Congress passing a law that requires its members to adhere to the same civil rights laws that everyone else is required to follow but then sets up a fund to pay off the victims when its members do not follow the law. I would say that the fund to pay off victims may actually encourage the morally deficient members of Congress to commit their licentious acts with impunity. Additionally, the Office of Compliance, which pays out taxpayer funds to victims to settle their cases of discrimination or sexual harassment, keeps the settlement information from U.S. citizens and even members of Congress. Our U.S. Congress is morally bankrupt to allow this to happen! This is just another reason its approval rating is currently at 16 percent.
I respectfully request that you do everything in your power to end this travesty of law and common decency. The Congressional Accountability Act needs to be amended: The payout for not following the law should be rescinded. Further, I sincerely believe that the $17.2 million needs to be repaid by these Congressional miscreants. I also request that you require the OOC to provide the names of congressmen and agency members who have committed illegal acts, the amount of funds paid for these acts, what the act was and to whom the funds were paid.