October 2016 U.S. Poverty Action

October 4, 2016

Urge Candidates to Prioritize Wealth Inequality and Close the Racial Wealth Gap

This is the home stretch! Not only are the Presidential candidates out on the campaign trail, candidates for all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate are campaigning with only a month before the election. This means we have an important opportunity to get poverty issues discussed on the campaign trail and build momentum for policies that create economic mobility – including making wealth inequality and closing the racial wealth gap. Interacting with policymakers face-to-face is the most effective action you can take to influence your members of Congress, including perhaps a future member of Congress. In addition to submitting a request for a meeting, remember that members of Congress and candidates are also doing public events to woo voters. Help make ending poverty an issue in this election by attending these events to ask a question about poverty in the U.S.

Connect with Candidates Directly and at Public Appearances

  1. Coordinate with your group to assign a specific person to request a meeting with each Congressional candidate, prioritizing candidates in close races and open seats.
  2. Find contact information for the campaign offices through the RESULTS website. Once connected, ask for whoever coordinates the candidate’s schedule.
  3. Use the following conversation as a template for the conversation with the scheduler or a written request.

Hi, my name is _________________, and I am a local volunteer with RESULTS, a grassroots group working to end poverty. I know that your campaign values input from voters on the issues that matter to us. With that in mind, our local RESULTS group would like to schedule meeting with ______ to discuss how we can work together to reduce poverty through protecting and strengthening tax credits for low-income working families, and discuss ways to support innovative approaches to helping families move out of poverty. There will be at least ____ of us at the meeting. Is he/she available to meet? May we set up a meeting now?

  1. If the candidate is unavailable, ask to meet a member of the staff that helps shape their policy priorities and ask about any town hall meetings or other public events.
  2. Research members of Congress and candidates and get coaching from RESULTS. Learn about members of Congress at http://capwiz.com/results/dbq/officials/ and candidates at: http://results.capwiz.com/election/home/, and Google candidate names + our issues.
  3. Find additional public events to attend. To elevate the importance of wealth inequality and urge candidates to prioritize closing the racial wealth gap, it’s important candidates hear about these issues while campaigning. Look at the candidate websites, your local newspaper, and consider setting up a Google alert for mentions of candidates and “event”, “meeting”, “town hall”, “rally”, etc.
  4. Prepare your question in advance. Review the racial wealth gap information on our website and RESULTS background piece on the wealth gap to bring to candidates.  

Like many Americans, I am concerned with the racial unrest we’ve seen in the U.S. lately. But the problem goes deeper than we might think. Right now, for every dollar of white wealth in the U.S., African American households have 6 cents, and Latino households have 7 cents. Our country is stronger when everyone has opportunities to succeed. This can only be done if we address wealth inequality, with a focus on racial wealth inequality. Congress might consider tax legislation and maybe an infrastructure package early next year. If elected, will you prioritize tax and infrastructure policies that target wealth inequality and reduce the racial wealth gap?

  1. Read the August Action, which has helpful tips on how to prepare for town halls and events, what to do when you get there, and how to follow-up.

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