Poverty and Its Impacts on American Familiesby Representative Gwen Graham
Posted on 2015-12-09
GRAHAM. Congresswoman Lee, I really appreciate you inviting me
and allowing me the opportunity to speak tonight on this very important
I am incredibly grateful for the work you are doing to highlight this issue and end poverty in America. Thank you on behalf of my district and all the districts across the country.
Twelve of the 14 counties I represent are rural counties that face many unique challenges, like access to social services, access to quality education, and access to health care. All of these issues are complicated by a cycle of poverty. This is especially prevalent in areas like Gadsden County, where more than 26 percent of the population live in poverty.
It is unacceptable for one in every four Americans to live in poverty in any part of our country. We must do more to help rural families break the cycle of poverty and move into the middle class.
One program that is successfully working to do this is the United States Department of Agriculture's StrikeForce Initiative for Rural Growth and Opportunity. Since its inception in 2010, StrikeForce teams have collaborated with more than 500 community partners and public entities across 20 States to bring targeted assistance to rural areas experiencing chronic poverty.
StrikeForce efforts have helped direct over $16 billion in investments to create jobs, build homes, feed kids, assist farmers, and conserve natural resources in the country's most economically challenged areas.
As the USDA considers expanding StrikeForce into more States, I urge them to bring this program to Florida, especially to north Florida and Gadsden County. Farmers in rural communities are the backbone of our State, and StrikeForce will help develop our economy, create jobs, and fight rural poverty.
Again, thank you, Congresswoman Lee, for bringing attention to this important issue. I look forward to working with you to end poverty across our country.