Hattie Johnson, a retired worker from Union Carbide who works part-time providing home health care today for the elderly, said, "My patients depend on Medicare, which they paid into their entire working lives, to ensure they have the care and help they require to live independently and not in a nursing home.
"Home health care is important. If you don't do it, it doesn't get done," Johnson said.
Jacqueline Jones from Dunbar specializes in helping young children in the Appalachian Head Start Program.
"Children are our future. They need Head Start. We encourage them to get more schooling so they can pull themselves up out of poverty. Their parents can't afford private day care or private preschools," Jones said.
"Every dollar of funding is critical to the program and the children it serves."
Retired from the U.S. Air Force, Jack Tincher has worked for the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Beckley.
"True patriotism means taking care of our veterans, especially when they come home from the battlefield wounded and in need of aid. Cutting benefit funding for veterans breaks a sacred promise our country made to the men and women who serve it."
Tincher believes "we are approaching a very dangerous time for working people and veterans. Everyone has to stand together."
During his remarks on Thursday, Tincher also criticized the billions of dollars that the Pentagon continues to send into the pockets of private military contractors.
Gary Zuckett, executive director of the West Virginia Citizen's Action Group, said, "The federal budget is a moral issue. Social program cuts would hurt the quality of life and services for our workers and our families."
A report recently published by the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy found 20.5 percent of West Virginians depend on federal benefits for personal income.
Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.