Steve Lonegan, the New Jersey Tea Party favorite for U.S. Senate, told MSNBC Saturday that single mothers don’t need food stamps because his mother managed without the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, ThinkProgress reported.
“Unemployment in New Jersey now is around nine percent. To a single working mother in New Jersey who has a couple of kids … What is your specific policy prescription on how to help her?” host of Up Steve Kornacki asked Lonegan.
“The policy that my Mom adopted when my Dad died, when I was a teenager and she had to go back to work as a single mom supporting two boys and had no health insurance and all of the things you just mentioned,” Lonegan responded. “You go to work, you roll up your sleeves, and you do the best you can, and you struggle and strife.”
Lonegan said “we need to create an economy where single mothers can grow and prosper,” but he did not elaborate on any policy plans he has on the economy.
“We never had to have SNAP, when I was a kid,” said Lonegan. “Ok, so, this thing that every single mother is the poster child for the welfare state is nonsense … I know a lot of single moms go out to work and do very, very well for themselves.”
When asked how he would help single mothers balance work and parenting, he suggested “cutting the size of government across the board, freeing up businesses and cutting regulation.”
In an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer this month, Lonegan said he lost his eyesight to a disease when he was a young man and began collecting disability. A social worker told him about food stamps, rent subsidies and vocational training.
"That was a very, very disturbing day for me because I could see where my life was going," he said because "you can easily be trapped" into relying on government.
"I'm very comfortable talking about life in the welfare state, life on government reliance, because I've been there and I fully understand the impact it has on a person's soul, their morale, their integrity," Lonegan said. "You know what? Sometimes you push people out the door and make them go to work."
As for policy, Lonegan is interested in sunsetting both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration – in other words Lonegan automatically terminate these agencies after a specified period of time unless expressly reauthorized.
“We need to start from scratch. That’s one step in the right direction,” he said.
Lonegan is the former head of the New Jersey Chapter of Americans for Prosperity, the conservative think tank of oil baron family the Koch Brothers.
Chris Christie endorsed Lonegan for Senate this week despite the fact that they ran against each other in the 2009 gubernatorial election.
At the time he said, “It’s clear to me that Mr. Christie is in over his head.”