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Homeless shelter feeds…..Utah lawmakers

Legislators fill their plates with food provided by The Road Home homeless shelter.
Legislators fill their plates with food provided by The Road Home homeless shelter.
Ronald Mortensen

The basement of the Utah capitol building was an area of contrasts. On one side there was table after table of elementary school students eating homemade lunches packed by their parents.

On the other side, state legislators were bellying up to a buffet offered by The Road Home which serves the homeless population of Utah.

The feeding program for well-heeled legislators made eminent good sense since as everyone knows, the way to get the ear of a legislator is through his/her stomach.

The event was funded by a private donor and was part of an effort to encourage lawmakers to allocate millions of dollars of taxpayer funds for homeless shelters.

When asked if legislators offered to pay for their meals or to make a contribution to the shelter in return for lunch, a shelter spokesperson said that they did not.

As one citizen observing the event noted, “There will be a very high return on the investment of a few dollars spent to feed legislators.”

The event raises the questions of (1) why do legislators feel it is appropriate to eat food that could have better gone to feed the homeless and (2) will legislators eventually pay for their meals by allocating millions of dollars of additional taxpayer funds to homeless programs?

The intent may have been good, but the optics were terrible.