Sen. Ricketts holds roundtable on first bill proposal

Sen. Ricketts is set to propose his first senate bill and it is focused on the ' SNAP ' program.
Published: Jul. 17, 2023 at 6:29 PM CDT
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Grand Island, Neb. (KSNB) - As Governor, Pete Ricketts advocated for the ‘SNAP’ program here in Nebraska. It’s formerly known as the ‘Food Stamp’ program and it’s now something Ricketts wants to spread nationally as a Senator.

The program helps recipients buy food among households who have low-income. ‘SNAP’ stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

This is Ricketts’ first bill proposal since becoming senator back in January. ‘SNAP’ has seen 400 graduates since launch as the program helped people receive more than $25,000 a year.

The household involved must have at least one working adult. Once a person is approved for ‘SNAP,’ they will receive a EBT-like debit card to buy food at authorized stores. While Ricketts was governor, Nebraska started a program to use a portion of the SNAP money for job training for low-income and disadvantaged Nebraskans. Now Ricketts wants to see that model used nationwide.

“What I wanted to do was bring solutions demonstrated successfully here in Nebraska to Washington D.C.,” Ricketts said. “I think this is one of the ways we really improve services for people here in Nebraska. We talked about the great change in people’s quality of life.”

Grand Island local stakeholders also attended Monday morning’s meeting. After leaving Grand Island, Sen. Ricketts traveled to Omaha to hold a similar roundtable.

Since the program launched in Grand Island, the unemployment rate has dropped below 2%, and although the unemployment rate is low, Cindy Johnson, the president of the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce, says there are still people to help.

“We do have people who are underemployed,” she said. “We do have people who could be working at a higher level in our state, in our community. This program helps individuals work to those capacities.”

In regards to jobs, the program offers offers materials that some households might not have -- such as transportation or appropriate clothing for an interview.