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Religious Leaders from Across Minnesota Converge on State Capitol

March 20, 2012

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Hundreds of faith leaders, religious advocates and faithful citizens will converge on the State Capitol in St. Paul today. The effort is part of the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition's Day on the Hill.

Executive director Brian Rusche says one of their focuses will be to protect the safety net for the poor.

"There are some bills going through the legislature that we think would damage the safety net and make some people ineligible or reduce levels of support. So, we are opposing those."

Another focus of today's activities, say Rusche, will be talking to lawmakers about supporting a positive agenda of proven programs for helping people climb out of poverty.

"That's with proven devices like child-care support, education and training, tax credits, higher minimum wage. A big emphasis on asset building, people being able to save money for future investment in themselves, either in the form of education or home ownership or starting a business."

Rusche says they're also pushing a pro-active agenda with programs that have had success in helping those struggling to make ends meet.

Before the hundreds of people taking part in the Day on the Hill head to the State Capitol, they'll assemble at RiverCenter.

Rusche says the keynote speaker there will be the Reverend Alika Galloway with Kwanzaa Community Church in north Minneapolis, an expert on health disparities affecting African-American women.

"She's very interested in improving the health status of people in their community, particularly as it pertains to health prevention programs, like to combat heart disease and diabetes and the like, and also preventing the spread of the AIDS virus in that community."

In Minnesota, there are now about 544,000 people in poverty, which is nearly 11 percent of the state's population.

More information is at www.jrlc.org.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN