Michael W. Brubaker
Pennsylvania State Senator, 36th District
Michael W. Brubaker is a Republican member of the Pennsylvania State Senate who has represented the 36th District since 2007. A Lancaster native, Brubaker was an agronomist by education and profession before entering the Senate. He graduated from West Virginia University with a BS in Agronomy and owned and operated a successful agronomic, environmental and trade consulting organization. He is Chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee and Vice-Chairman of the Aging and Youth Committee. He also serves on the committees for Environmental Resources and Energy, Local Government, Policy and State Government, and Energy Policies. Brubaker is a member of the Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture.
Rising prices, increased unemployment and a faltering economy have combined to make hunger a growing problem in Pennsylvania and the country. Ten percent of the population of the Commonwealth was a risk of hunger in 2007. At present, 1.2 million families in Pennsylvania are considered food insecure, meaning they don’t have the resources to maintain an adequate diet.
About half a million households across the state are at risk of hunger. The number of individuals and families who do not have enough food continues to rise. The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, which distributes more than 15 million pounds food and grocery products yearly, reports that more than 200,000 people now go to the soup kitchens, shelters, and food pantries in the 27 counties it serves. There are far more people in need of food who don’t avail themselves of food assistance than those who do.
It used to be primarily the homeless and unemployed who needed food assistance. That is changing as working families find they cannot make ends meet and senior citizens face the often impossible choice of spending their limited incomes on prescription medications, heat for their homes or food. The United States Department of Agriculture reports that hunger is up 27 percent since 1995. In light of these worrisome trends, I am announcing the formation of the Hunger Caucus in the Pennsylvania legislature. I will co-chair it with State Representative John Myers of Philadelphia. The Hunger Caucus is designed to educate the 253 Pennsylvania legislators on food insecurity issues and work to improve access to nutrition programs.
Our goal is to lower barriers to anti-hunger programs and develop cooperative programs between government and the private sector that address hunger issues. We must make sure the infrastructure is in place to receive and deliver food and recruit volunteers. We cannot allow this trend to continue when we in Pennsylvania have the capability of doing something about it. Our state produces far more food than it consumes, exporting food to the rest of the country and the world. We have the productive capacity and the infrastructure for distributing food to those to need it. What we need more of is the additional capital and volunteerism required to conquer food insecurity in our state.
In an effort to provide wide-ranging views and perspectives regarding the practice of and issues surrounding agriculture, the Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture (PSPA) seeks speakers representing a variety of perspectives. The statements and opinions they present are strictly their own and do not necessarily represent the views of PSPA.