MANCHESTER – Today, Kevin Smith, Republican candidate for Governor, called for reform to the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card program. His campaign also announced that he has received the support of Jackie Whiton in his bid for the corner office. Whiton has shot to national attention recently for her refusal to sell cigarettes to a young man attempting to make the purchase with a taxpayer funded EBT card. Whiton was fired for the incident, but her actions have shown a light on the issue of misuse of taxpayer dollars intended to help struggling families with basic needs.
“I’m pleased that this unfortunate situation may lead to some good, and that the issue will get the attention it deserves from lawmakers,” Whiton said. “I have spoken at length with Kevin Smith since the incident first occurred, and I strongly believe that as Governor, he will address this abuse of taxpayer dollars. He is committed to reforming the system, and I’m proud to support him in his race.”
Kevin Smith attended a previously announced press conference today with Jackie Whiton at Speaker of the House Bill O’Brien’s office at 11:00am to address the issue of EBT reform.
“Everyone agrees that we have a responsibility to help struggling families in need of food, clothing and other basic needs. No one is challenging that. However, taxpayers should not pay to support a person’s cigarette habit, plain and simple,” said Smith. “This program needs to be fully examined, and reforms made. New Hampshire’s taxpayers want to know that their dollars are going to support a program that contributes to a person’s well-being, and not to support non-essential items like alcohol and tobacco.”
“As Governor, I will direct the Commissioner of Health and Human Services to request a waiver from the Federal Government in order to modify the rules in place to restrict what items can be purchased with an EBT card. I will also explore additional reforms to improve the EBT program’s effectiveness in helping those in need and that taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely.”
“I respect Jackie Whiton for fighting for what she believes, and for shining a light on the need for reform. I’m honored to have her support,” said Smith. “We should all be proud of Ms. Whiton’s actions and applaud her courage in taking a stand, especially in the face of losing her job.”
“As Ms. Whiton so clearly pointed out, we need to make some common sense reforms to this program. I have campaigned on making government more efficient and effective in serving its citizens and protecting taxpayers from waste. Reforming nonsensical provisions like permitting the purchase of cigarettes, or unlimited cash withdrawals with an EBT card is a great place to start. I’m committed to working closely with state and Federal government officials in order to reform this program.”