Our Own Deb

October 31, 2012 By: Juanita Jean Herownself Category: Uncategorized

Deb T has been a long time customer here.  Late last night, she send me this —


Just wanted you to know that tomorrow at 1pm, I will be a part of a press conference for Senator Claire McCaskill –  aka Todd Akin’s nemesis. You and the other frequenters of Juanita Jean’s have given me the courage to speak at one of these darned things.

Here in Missouri my Presidential vote may not matter but my vote on the rest of the ticket does. Claire’s people seem to think I can help so I will give it my best shot. I am hoping I do not embarrass all of us or make things worse for the Senator. The race is so close and we cannot afford to lose this one.


I asked her if I could put here speech here and she finally agreed to let me.  Deb, you go woman.  You just go!

Debbie Twyman’s comments on the importance of school lunches 11/1/12

Congressman Todd Akin, said he opposes federal spending for the National School Lunch Program, which provides cash and surplus food for nearly 650,000 school lunches in Missouri each day. I know that there was a lot of discussion about that statement this summer, when the Congressman mentioned it at the annual Governor’s Ham Breakfast at the Missouri State Fair. The context of that statement is stunning isn’t it? A man who brings pork back to his own district while simultaneously stating that it should be removed from children’s plates.

When he caught some flak for those statements the 4 Term Congressman tried to walk them back but the thing is his record speaks for itself. Akin was one of just five members of Congress to oppose the bipartisan Child Nutrition Improvement and Integrity Act, which streamlined the process that allows children to qualify for, free or reduced priced school lunches and expanded a program providing local produce to schools. The bottom line is the Congressman’s opposition to school lunches is a long-standing one – it is a part of his record.

I was a teacher in a suburban school district, when I retired a year ago after 31 years in the classroom; almost half of my students were participants in the free and reduced lunch program. Many of these kids were the children of hard working American families, families who were doing everything right, but were still struggling to make ends meet. And here is the scary part, the cut off for a family of four was an income of less than $29,965 or a little bit less than $7,500 a person and many of my kids met it. In many cases, the meals my students ate at school were the only meals they received.

I could sit here and point to research that says that children do not learn well on an empty stomach, there is lots of it out there. Or, I could just ask you to think about a time when you skipped a meal – a time when you were sitting in a meeting or a class and your stomach was growling at you inconveniently; a time when you found your mind wandering because you were thinking about grabbing a bite to eat. Well imagine what it is like for a child coming to class on a regular basis with an empty stomach, particularly if that is the same empty stomach that they went to bed with. For many children across this country and in Missouri that is a reality, a reality that is made better by the school lunch program. A program Congressman Akin would eliminate because he does not think it is necessary.

I am from Independence and a neighbor of mine down the street that you all may have heard of, a guy by the name of Harry Truman, was a big believer in the school lunch program, in fact he helped get it started. The first federal support for school lunches occurred during the Great Depression in 1933, when the government granted loans to several towns in southwestern Missouri to cover the cost of labor to prepare the meals.

Congress created the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) after an investigation into the health of young men rejected in the World War II draft showed a connection between physical deficiencies and childhood malnutrition. In response, Congress enacted the 1946 National School Lunch Act as a “measure of national security, to safeguard the health and well-being of the Nation’s children.” To President Truman and the Greatest Generation, feeding children was a national security issue. To Congressman Akin it is unnecessary.

This Tuesday Missourians have a choice to make. They can choose to vote for a guy who feels comfortable saying he wants to take food out of the mouths of poor children. Or they can vote for a woman who understand the importance of seeing to it that children do not go to school hungry. I can tell you that as a teacher, there are few things sadder than knowing that you have a child in class who has not had enough to eat.

I have lived in Missouri pretty much all of my life and I find it hard to believe that my neighbors would allow that to happen, that is just not the Missouri I know, and it is certainly not the Missouri of Harry Truman. I would ask voters to think about that when they enter the voting booth. I think that as voters we have to ask ourselves whether this is what we want for Missouri’s children, for our country’s children. Can we, in good conscience, stomach the idea of a child, through no fault of their own, going to school hungry? Because if you can’t, your choice is clear, you need to vote Claire, because a vote for Claire is a vote for our children.

Besides, this is Missouri and no child should go to school hungry.








Additional information:

  • The National School Lunch Program provided nutritionally balanced, low‐cost or free lunches to more than 31 million children each school day in 2011. It provides 235,065 breakfasts to Missouri kids every day and free and reduced breakfasts to 187,904. It provides 628,981 lunches to Missouri kids each day and free and reduced lunches to 365,304 of those children. These young people might otherwise have gone hungry but they didn’t. Thanks to the efforts of people like Claire McCaskill, they start their day ready to learn with food on their stomachs.
  • Akin voted for the “Ryan Plan” that guts public schools and cuts Pell Grants for over 9 million students
  • Akin calls federal student loans the “Stage 3 cancer of socialism.”
  • Claire voted for the Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act.

And yeah, she reads the comments here.

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37 Comments to “Our Own Deb”

  1. Rock on, Deb.

    I love it when people say well the things that need to be said, and you just did that.

  2. Deb T
    That was wonderful! Why would you even think you would embarrass the campaign?

    Oh wait a minute. You included those pesky things called ‘facts’. I forgot. Republicans don’t do facts.

    Well, Democrats do. And kids from poor families need breakfast and lunch. I know, cause I used to be a school nurse and I fed those kids before our school had a breakfast program.
    How may raises did Aiken vote for himself and his cronies?
    He should be ashamed! And voted out of office.

    You did great, Deb!

  3. What a great speech!

    Thank you.

  4. Suzy Allison says:

    I hope some of the self-described “values voters” were listening as Deb put it plainly in terms of values. And any candidate who does not share these values should be ashamed.

  5. Barbara in Houston says:

    Deb, that brought tears to my eyes. I don’t need to wish you good “luck” because I don’t believe luck has anything to do in these situations. You will knock them out!

  6. Just lovely, Deb.

  7. Wow! Fantastic speech. Great job Deb.

  8. I see it every day, on all different levels. As a substitute teacher in a poor district, it is absolutely true that some children wouldn’t eat at all if they didn’t eat at school. There is a summer program supplying lunch being served at some of the schools here, but not all. Hunger is just another aspect of Things That Keep Children from Being Educated.

  9. Most excellent Deb, most excellent!! You do all of us at the salon proud.

  10. Wish I was physically able to attend this meeting to hear you and to meet Claire whom I am supporting, too. Your speech was perfect!!!

  11. Deb, you hit it out of the park with that speech. It was very good; I just hope the people were listening. It’s unreal how cold hearted these “family values” types are.

  12. Beautiful, Deb! I hope you remembered to channel your inner Juanita Jean and hoisted your ta-tas and took a deep breath before delivering this splendid message.

  13. aggieland liz says:

    You are AWESOME Deb! Anyone ashamed of you needs their flippin head examined! Could I excerpt your speech (make it more general) to my DCCW women for next Tuesday? I can think of several of them that need to be reminded that we face more than one issue >:-€

  14. Wow! Simple, direct, and true. Thanks Deb, for being there to say this.

  15. Outstanding.


    The “Show Me” state got shown Deb’s excellent, compassionate arguments to vote for Claire, the candidate who actually cares about Missouri’s young citizens in need of the school lunch program.

  16. You go, girl! This retired teacher appreciates your telling it like it is, Deb.

  17. Dang you’all I am blushing right down to my toe nails. I hope you know how much I enjoy reading all your posts, they give me hope and frequently have me snorting. You will be happy to know that Akin was holding a rally across town this morning, for what it is worth, there were more Claire protesters in attendance than there were Akin supporters!

    I told JJ earlier, I thought it was interesting that even though Akin hisownself was here in KC, he refused to do interviews with the press (the young lady from our local Fox affiliate was hot under the collar about that, they had promised her an interview and then did not follow through). My guess is they are afraid if he opens his darned mouth he will just wade in and stick his foot in his mouth again. The man does seem to make a habit of that.

    My husband will tell you that it takes quite a bit of convincing to get me in front of a camera but when faced with the prospect of Todd Akin as my Senator (I am proud to say Emanuel Cleaver is my Congressman), I channeled my inner Beauty Salon warrior and decided I had better take one for the team.

    Thanks for the support it means a lot and Aggieland Liz I would be honored, feel free to use any of this if it helps your candidates. keep the faith, we have to stop these folks – Akin is just the tip of the iceberg! Tuesday is a coming!

  18. Great job, Deb! I hope the “Show Me State” shows Akin the door!

  19. Just want to add my congratulations, Deb. Great speech and thanks for speaking out.

  20. As a retired teacher, I bow to your beautiful speech and your opportunity to educate some folks who may not know the truth of hunger in America. You get an A+ and a gold star.

  21. Umptydump says:

    Deb, the rest of us don’t know anything about your past other than your career in teaching. With your communication and leadership skills, however, it’s clear that your community needs your voice and your leadership. I hope that for your fellow Missourians’ sake, you’ll consider what more you can offer them in future public or government service.

  22. Talk about taking names and the rest I can’t say cuz of Mama. 😉 Great speech and you will be great giving it! Just imagine all of us at the back rooting you on because in spirit we will be!

  23. VintageMomma says:

    Deb, you are right – we DO have to stop these people and I am so proud of you for planting your feet and fighting back (hitting ’em where it hurts – FACTS!) Thank you, thank you!

  24. fenway fran says:

    Well done, Deb, Well done.

  25. Good for you, Deb — you nailed it! I fail to understand how “family value” candidates don’t have a problem with hungry children. We live in Washington State, but contributed to Claire’s campaign, largely because Akin is a disgrace to humanity. I’m sure you made Claire proud!

  26. TexasEllen says:

    Deb, that is excellent! So proud of you and wishing you and Claire a very jolly election night when the votes roll in.

  27. Okey-dokie says:

    My youngest took a job in St Louis. I promise she’ll be voting straight ticket For the Democrats next week. (She registered the same day her utilities were turned on.)

  28. Back in 1967 my family moved from Galveston to St. Louis. We went to enroll the kids in school prepared to spend a bunch of money on school supplies. The teacher was stunned when I requested the school supply list, she was not familiar with the term. Her response was in Missouri, if the school requires it, the school provides it.

    You have given me a whole other take on school lunches. It should be part of the deal. For everybody.

  29. aggieland liz says:

    Thank you! If I can just change ONE mind with your experience, if I can just make a few of them think! I hate Fox news and Rupert Murdoch so much I can practically taste it…

  30. Deb,

    Excellent speech. Makes me proud to be a customer at Juanita Jeans – so many wonderful and thoughtful customers are here each day.

  31. You did us proud, Deb! Excellent speech.

  32. Don A in Pennsyltucky says:

    I find this ironic. When my children were in elementary school, virtually every child in the school qualified for either free or reduced cost school lunches. Mine got the reduced-cost version which made the cost of the lunch about the same as one peanut butter and jelly sandwich in a brown bag. The election precincts from which that school draws its students always vote overwhelmingly Republican.

  33. Thank you all, you are far too kind. I thnk we are making headway they brought in Newt Gingrich to speak at his rally yesterday. I am thinking that this may be the very definition of desperate.


    The local press did not even mention Gingrich – oh the punctured egos!

  34. Cheryl Ann says:

    Go Deb! Exellent speech, I feel like I hang with a famous bunch here at the beauty salon.

  35. Deb, wow, that is awesome. Thanks for speaking up for those who do not have a voice. Hope you and Claire enjoy that sweet victory on election night.

  36. gabberflasted says:

    Uh, Deb you did not take one for the team. Rather, you gave a volley for the team.

  37. Deb, I grew up in Southwest MO, and you couldn’t have explained the situation any better. Know the election is over, but just had to say thank you!!!