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‘A Minnesota Without Poverty’: Proposals from anti-poverty conference

Advocates for the poor
Photo by Ron MaekerAdvocates for the poor “voting” for anti-poverty
issues they support.

Sometimes less is more, the Cliff’s Notes version way more readable and meaningful than the unabridged.

So, with a tip of the hat to anti-poverty conference convener Nancy Maeker who sparked the idea, “listen in” to provocative and memorable comments overheard at the Connecting to End Poverty conference Wednesday, a rally called by “A Minnesota Without Poverty” and involving some 40 non-profit advocacy groups.

Their goal? According to Maeker: “to reinvigorate and move forward” the recommendations of the  Legislative Commission to End Poverty by 2020 (LCEP), issued in 2009, and to urge advocates to decide which issues they can put their collective weight behind and bring to the 2013 Legislature. 

Spoiler alert: “A Minnesota Without Poverty” will release an official ruling in days to come, but preliminary voting results show a majority of the group ready to stand behind a Family Economic Security bill that would, among other changes, increase minimum wage to $9.50 an hour.

They also support in large numbers a measure that would require a poverty-impact analysis with proposed laws that would affect low-income Minnesotans.    

Among issues discussed: financial literacy education, uniform eligibility requirements for government aid programs, guaranteed health care, preschool education and childcare, more affordable housing, expanded food support, increase in minimum wage, increased welfare grants to families, more help for those exiting the criminal justice system.  


  • “No one deserves to be poor,’’ a comment by a Minnesota military veteran, shared by Rep. Carolos Mariani, DFL-St. Paul,  former co-chair of the LCEP, in telling of the commissioners’ travels around the state some years ago to listen to low-income Minnesotans and those who help them.
  • This is half way to 2020 and “we’ve got some catching up to do… Go for it. Push hard. Push all of us.’’ – Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville, another commission co-chair
  • Don’t relegate the bipartisan commission’s “excellent” report to the dust bin. — Rep. Morrie Lanning, retiring Republican legislator from Moorhead, who served on the LCEP executive committee and was responsible for pushing for renewal of the Legislative Ladder Out of Poverty Task Force, which he co-chaired for the past two years
  • Poverty is costly in terms of the loss of human potential. The poor tell us: “We’re not so interested in hands out. We want a hand-up.’’ — Lanning
  • There’s “human dignity” in work. The economy exists to serve human needs. — Brian Rusche, Joint Religious Legislative Coalition
  • “Ending poverty is good for business.’’ — Dane Smith, Growth and Justice, on advocating for a poverty-impact statement with bills involving low-income Minnesotans
  • “What is it about not enough money that people don’t understand?” — Kris Jacobs, JOBS NOW Coalition
  • More than 80 percent of the spending in the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (also known as the FAARM Act) goes to people with the lowest incomes through SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and commodities that are the backbone of every food shelf in the state. — Colleen Moriarty, Hunger Solutions Minnesota
  • “Stick together. Collaborate with each other.” — Lanning

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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by mark wallek on 12/06/2012 - 10:27 am.

    A nice thought

    The problem is that history and contemporary experience state that we lack the necessary wisdom, collectively, to make real change. Over the past 40 years many ideas have surfaced and sunk on this issue. The reality is that we will not do what it takes to end hunger because we are just too frightened by real substantive change. The familiar, regardless of how distasteful, is familiar. Much less terrifying than the unfamiliar. A world without hunger? Frightening.

  2. Submitted by Mike Schumann on 12/06/2012 - 11:23 am.

    Ending Poverty

    Poverty Impact analysis???? A code word for another government bureaucracy that will increase our tax rates and push more of us into poverty.

  3. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 12/06/2012 - 10:08 pm.

    Hate to say it but

    Many times poverty is a series of bad decisions, and now those that made the good decisions get to pay for those that made the bad decisions, but have no or little say in it.
    Biggest problem, the average bleeding heart is clueless on what it takes to be successful in the real competitive world today, (they have never been in it, a non tax or non-profit funded position. Perseverance, dedication, not 40 hr weeks 50+ hour weeks, yes and people will not be nice or polite to you all the time, yes you will have to spends days weeks, maqybe months away form home, minimum wage does nothing but make it harder for those W/O a skill set to get a job, “They admit that folks don’t have the skill set to be worth $7.50 an hour and then say oh, but we want to force everyone to pay $9.50 for someone that doesn’t have a skill set for $7.50! That is a $2 an hour hand out, not a helping hand. Why not build the skills to make them worth $10.50!
    Here we go again self d illusion ignorance at its best!

  4. Submitted by terry day on 12/07/2012 - 01:19 pm.

    A MN Without Poverty Proposal

    In these harsh economic political climate where homeless are not allowed a warm bed and many freeze to death, greedy ones do not want to share a little so together public amenities can be funded, we have to come together and help each other as a community. We need to network and share talents, jobs, barter system. We need to nurture agape love, self sacrifice, and help each other to grow! This is the meaning of life and why we are here I believe.
    Please support A Minnesota Without Poverty and organizations that work together to make up for a violent systemic political climate in Minnesota!

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