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Kemp Forum: Antipovertyby Representative Robert J. Dold
Posted on 2016-01-12
DOLD. Mr. Speaker, this past weekend brought together a group of
innovators at the Kemp Forum on Expanding Opportunity in South
Carolina. This important forum highlighted new and creative ideas to
address the stubborn problem of poverty in America.
The Federal Government spends more than half a trillion dollars each and every year on antipoverty measures. That is a significant devotion of resources. Yet, while some progress has been made in the last 50 years, today there are still nearly 50 million Americans living in poverty.
Nobody would deny that the results fall far short from where they need to be. This is because, at the end of the day, success in the war on poverty is measured not at the program level, but on the individual level. Success isn't about how many programs exist, but how many people can improve their lives by moving up and out of poverty.
Mr. Speaker, one of the fundamental principles of this great Nation is the idea of freedom of opportunity, the opportunity to find work, to support yourself, and to support your family.
By working with local community groups like YouthBuild and leaders like Bob Woodson, I have been able to see numerous success stories, like my guest for tonight's State of the Union address, Lavell Brown.
This young man has successfully worked with community groups in North Chicago to grow as an individual and to get on a path to a sustainable career, and he is now giving back to others at YouthBuild Lake County.
This model of empowering the individual and helping them develop the skills needed to escape poverty is what we need to replicate millions of times over. If we can combine the focus on individuals with a relentless drive to innovate, I am confident that, in the next 50 years, our efforts to end poverty and provide greater opportunities will be a success.
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