November 2015 U.S. Poverty Action
Laying the Groundwork to End Poverty This Election Season
At the United Nations in September, world leaders affirmed their commitment to ending extreme poverty globally by 2030. We need the same commitment to ending poverty in this country – and the election season is a critical time to demand it. RESULTS and other organizations launched Vote to End Hunger (VTEH), a campaign to ensure that Presidential candidates prioritize ending hunger and poverty, in Iowa last month. In addition, candidates for all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate will be campaigning over the coming months. Use this opportunity to engage them in a conversation about ending poverty while they are on the campaign trail.
Connect with Candidates to Put Ending Hunger and Poverty at the Top of Their Priority List
- Look for opportunities to connect with Presidential candidates – especially if you live in an early primary/caucus state. (Every Child Matters has calendars of candidate appearances in Iowa and New Hampshire – please share with contacts in those locations)
- Coordinate with your group to assign a specific person to research opportunities to connect with each Congressional candidate, prioritizing Senate candidates, open seats, and swing districts.
- If you have the chance to attend a campaign event, ask the candidate, “If elected, what will you do to end hunger, alleviate poverty, and create opportunity?” Check out our tips on candidate events and PowerPoint to increase the odds you get called upon.
- If your RESULTS group and allies have an opportunity to ask multiple questions, ask a question about saving key EITC and CTC provisions – though hopefully we will succeed in making these provisions permanent this year. For example: “Will you publicly speak about the importance of the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit to working families and urge Congress to take action now to save these important provisions?”
- IMPORTANT: Once you confirm a meeting with a candidate or plan to attend a candidate event, contact Director of US Poverty Campaigns Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) for coaching, materials, and tailored requests.
- After any meeting or town hall event, be sure to follow up with the campaign staff and fill out the RESULTS Lobby Report Form at www.tinyurl.com/RESLRF.
Why Start to Engage Candidates Now?
By connecting with candidates for President and Congress early on in the election process we can build momentum during the campaign season that will support our work next year and beyond. Already, RESULTS staff and volunteers have talked with eight different Presidential candidates about U.S. poverty issues, and we hope there will be many more conversations in communities across the country. To support this, representatives of Bread for the World, Feeding America, the Catholic Diocese of Des Moines, and RESULTS launched the Vote to End Hunger campaign in Iowa last month to raise the issues of hunger and poverty in the presidential election. At the launch, RESULTS Des Moines volunteer and Expert on Poverty Jamy Rentschler shared her story of receiving Food Stamp (now called SNAP) as a child and the importance of these resources for her and her family.
The VTEH campaign will be actively working to engage Presidential candidates over the next year to urge them to make ending hunger and poverty a top national priority when the new president and Congress are sworn in in 2017. We urge you to visit www.votetoendhunger.org to learn more about the campaign. RESULTS will also focus on Congressional candidates over the next year, including incumbents. If a candidate is speaking near you, plan to attend the event and urge them to explain their plan to end hunger and poverty in America. In the coming months, look for these opportunities to connect with Presidential and Congressional candidates:
- Traditional town hall meetings. Many members of Congress also do these by phone.
- County Fairs and local events are a great place to see your candidates in a fun setting. Make sure you are armed with a quality laser talk!
- Candidate forums. These are places where candidates meet to talk to an audience and take questions. These are great places to find out where candidates stand on RESULTS issues. Additionally, if their opponent attends, it can spark interesting and informative discussion.
- Debates. Often constituents and groups provide the questions used in debates. Find out if this is true in your area and submit your questions! Then attend (or listen to) the debate and keep your ear open for RESULTS issues.
Coming Up: One Last Push to Save EITC and CTC Provisions
Of course, this month we’ll continue raising our voices to save key Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit provisions. We may need to put our candidate outreach on hold if Congress moves on tax legislation – which could happen as a part of a final spending bill (the current “Continuing Resolution” expires December 11) or other legislation. On the November 2015 RESULTS National Webinar (Nov. 14 at 12:30 pm ET), we’ll discuss strategies to engage candidates along with the latest on tax legislation. To join the meeting online, login at http://fuze.me/28130766. If you cannot join online, dial in by phone at (201) 479-4595, meeting ID: 28130766#.