Columbia, SC – State Representative Bakari Sellers (D-Bamberg) proposed a friendly challenge to Governor Nikki Haley and DSS Director Lillian Koller on Friday via twitter. In response to the Governor’s call to eliminate unhealthy foods from the state’s food stamp program, Rep. Sellers challenged the two state leaders to join him in eating only healthy foods on SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) funds for one week. Sellers committed to only shopping for healthy alternatives in his district, which contains parts of Bamberg, Barnwell, and Colleton Counties.

“While the Governor’s idea sounds good on the surface, poverty and obesity is not caused just by unhealthy foods, but rather expenses and access to healthy alternatives,” said Rep. Sellers. “We don’t have Whole Foods in rural South Carolina, nor does the farmer’s market accept food stamps.”

“If the Governor and Director Koller accept my challenge, they will quickly see that struggling South Carolinians aren’t eating unhealthily because they want to,” said Sellers. “Sometimes it is hard to understand the plight of the poor until you walk a mile in their shoes.”

Sellers points to a more reasonable solution to curb obesity in South Carolina. He plans to reintroduce his healthy school lunch bill that would ban sugary, high-fat foods from school lunch programs and remove calorie-loaded snacks and soft drinks from school vending machines.

“Obesity in South Carolina starts in the schools,” said Sellers. “If Governor Haley truly wants to fight this epidemic, I would ask for her support in helping pass my healthy school lunch bill.”

As for the challenge, Sellers says he is anxiously awaiting the Governor’s response.


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