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State Commission Outlines Plan to End Poverty

January 22, 2009

St. Paul, MN – A statewide commission has released its recommended blueprint for ending poverty in Minnesota by 2020. Former state Senator John Hottinger, who wrote the bill that established the panel, says the result is a comprehensive plan to reduce the barriers that drive so many people into poverty. One key part of the strategy, he says, is education.

"We should be making sure children are ready for kindergarten; that we have an education system that's open and we don't have the continuing gaps we currently have. It is fundamental that we make sure our education focuses on future employment."

The report lays out a detailed strategy, adds the former Senator, and is a good starting point for addressing the persistent problem of poverty.

"The recommendations, which were unanimous from a bipartisan panel, can be a road map we can follow. Not only in government action, which is part of the answer, but also in our daily lives, the work we do, and in the people we associate with."

Despite the state's reputation for quality education, says Hottinger, Minnesota's children are separated by an achievement gap - between children from low-income families and those from wealthier homes. The recommendations also include creating jobs that lead to self-sufficiency, and making health care and housing more affordable.

An estimated half-million Minnesotans live in poverty. Many expect that number to increase because of the recent state of the economy.

More on the Legislative Commission to End Poverty in Minnesota by 2020 can be found on its Web site at
www.lcep.leg.mn

Jim Wishner, Public News Service - MN