Democratic Whip Task Force on Poverty, Income Inequality, and Opportunity Concludes Milwaukee Pathways Out of Poverty Listening Tour
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) and Democratic Whip Task Force on Poverty, Income Inequality, and Opportunity Chair, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13), visited Milwaukee, Wisconsin as part of their Pathways Out of Poverty Listening Tour. They were joined by Congresswoman Gwen Moore (WI-04). Earlier this month, Whip Hoyer and Rep. Lee visited Dallas, Texas on the first leg of the Listening Tour.
“Today, I was proud to join Rep. Lee and Rep. Moore in Milwaukee to hear directly from those fighting poverty on the front lines,” said Whip Hoyer. “As President Trump and Congressional Republicans propose massive cuts to anti-poverty programs while cutting taxes for the wealthiest in America, we are here listening and learning about what is working and the challenges that must still be addressed so that we can go back to Washington and fight for policies that actually lift people out of poverty. I thank Rep. Lee and Rep. Moore – both champions of working people – for joining me.”
“This trip could not be more timely or more important. In Washington, President Trump and Speaker Ryan take every opportunity to attack lifesaving programs that families rely on -- food assistance, affordable housing, and quality health care,” said Congresswoman Lee. “If they succeed, our communities will pay a heavy price. Every family deserves good-paying work, quality childcare, and healthy food. This visit to Milwaukee is an opportunity to bring proven, effective ideas back to Washington to help break the cycle of poverty.”
“Today, I was honored to have Reps. Lee and Hoyer join me on a tour of some of Milwaukee’s most innovative anti-poverty programs,” said Congresswoman Moore. "In the face of attacks by Governor Walker and President Trump, our vibrant and resilient community is fighting back. The people and ideas we encountered today will inspire our work back in Washington to implement strategies and legislation designed to serve children, their parents, and their communities.”
On the Listening Tour, the Members visited Next Door Educare, a state-of-the-art school serving 166 children and providing comprehensive services to ensure students receive a quality early childhood education and that parents have the services necessary to support learning. Those services include a pediatric health and dental clinic, a fatherhood program, kindergarten classrooms, Early Head Start home-based services, birth-to-three support services, a pharmacy, GED programming, a coin laundry, a community library, and more. Members participated in a reading activity with children and visited parents and board members to discuss how early childhood interventions like Next Door Educare help expand opportunity for students and families.
Later in the day, the Members toured the Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership (WRTP)/ BIG STEP, a partnership in Milwaukee that provides workforce training and coordinates with employers to ensure that individuals gain the skills and experiences that local employers need. Members visited with students who are learning machine operations as well as blueprint, math, and other essential skills.
Following the tour of WRTP/BIG STEP, Members participated in a roundtable discussion with community leaders, practitioners, and stakeholders working to address poverty in Milwaukee. During the discussion, Members heard directly from individuals living in poverty about the day-to-day challenges they face and how they are struggling to make ends meet while working minimum-wage jobs. Stakeholders discussed the challenge that federal work requirements place on low-income individuals and the impossible choice parents have to make between caring for their children and making a living wage. In addition, Members discussed how Congress can help grow job opportunities and invest in programs like Next Door Educare and WRTP/BIG STEP that help ensure families can get ahead.
Launched in 2013, the Democratic Whip Task Force on Poverty, Income Inequality, and Opportunity works to raise awareness of Members of Congress and the American people about the ongoing crisis of poverty, the positive human and economic impacts of effective poverty alleviation programs, and the need for a comprehensive national effort to eradicate poverty. The Task Force consults with key stakeholders to develop support for strategies to eradicate poverty and build opposition to proposed cuts to anti-poverty programs by the Trump Administration and Congressional Republicans.
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