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Rally Protests Welfare Reforms

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RALEIGH — Approximately 300 people made their waythrough downtown Raleigh Saturday to protest welfare reforms, especiallyone that cuts off food stamps to childless adults who don'thave jobs.

That food stamp decision drew special fire because Gov. Jim Hunt couldhave extended such benefits for another year, under federal guidelines.Instead, Hunt opted to limit childless, able-bodied adults to three monthsof food stamps if they don't find work or perform at least 20 hours ofcommunity service per week.

Shirley McClain of the N.C. Hunger Network was quoted inThe News& Observeras saying that the governor has "yanked the life lineout of the mouths of thousands of people."

Marchers were urged to call Hunt on Monday morning to register theirdispleasure, and petitions were circulated through the crowd.

The protesters want Gov. Hunt to ask the federal government for awaiver that would allow people in the 37 poorest of North Carolina's 100counties to keep getting food stamps while they continued to look forwork. Hunt has already sought an exemption for the state's seven poorestcounties.

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