U.S. Poverty Weekly Update August 16, 2016

August 16, 2016

U.S. Poverty Campaigns

Weekly Update | August 16, 2016

“I urge Rep. David Young and Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst to support the expansion of the EITC so more hardworking Iowans can make ends meet.”

– RESULTS Des Moines REAL Change Fellow Meredith McLean in an August 4 letter to the editor in Des Moines Register

In This Week’s Update:

Quick Action: Request Face-to-Face Meetings with Lawmakers in August

Take Action!

Got Two Minutes? Contact Schedulers about Meetings and Town Halls (and State Fairs) (August Action)

There are only 3 weeks left in the congressional summer recess. Thank you to everyone who has been working to meet with their members of Congress and candidates this summer, as well as attend public events to ask a question. As RESULTS Executive Director Joanne Carter noted on last Saturday’s National Webinar, these interactions are so important in keeping the issue of poverty fresh in lawmakers’ minds and in trying to influence the agenda of candidates before and after the election. Let’s keep the pressure on in the final weeks and send a message they can take by to Washington in September – end poverty now!

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to contact schedulers about setting up face-to-face meetings and attend town halls with members of Congress and candidates this month. Remember to use this as a way to build group health by dividing up the responsibilities for contacting each office among your group members. Perhaps even make it into an end of summer game – who can get secure a meeting or town hall first? – with the winner getting a small gift card or simple bragging rights. Remember that this is fair time for many states and candidates tend to appear at state and local fairs, especially in an election year. When contacting offices and checking websites, check to see if they will be at a state or county fair near you. You can find websites for members of Congress on our Elected Officials page (under the “Contact” tab) and candidate information in our Election Guide.

Please contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) once you get your meeting or town halls scheduled so he can help you get ready. Also take copies of our EITC, wealth gap, and SNAP request sheets with you.

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Got Ten Minutes? Use Skills from Saturday’s National Webinar to Draft Your Town Hall Questions (August Action)

RESULTS deeply thanks Richelle Friedman of the Coalition on Human Needs and Nuns on the Bus for speaking on our National Webinar this past weekend. Richelle shared about the Nuns most recent tour, which focused on “mending the gaps” on wealth and inequality, as well as the gap in access to important services. RESULTS supports the efforts of Nuns on the Bus and congratulates them on another successful tour.

Richelle also talked about her work with CHN which, along with RESULTS, is working to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for workers without children in the home. She mentioned how important the work of volunteers like you in bringing these issues to your members of Congress. She said members of Congress are more likely to take action when constituents tell them an issue is important to them. That’s a good reminder of why your work matters. Talking with lawmakers and candidates sends the message to them that voters care about poverty.

On Saturday’s National Webinar, we provided coaching on how best to draft your own poverty town hall question for members of Congress and candidates. Drafting the right question is one of the most important parts of preparing for these events, but the process is easier than people might think. In fact, RESULTS has provided you sample questions on the EITC, SNAP, and the racial wealth gap in the August Action. Use them as templates to get you started.

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to draft your own questions to use at town halls and candidate events this summer and fall. Use the August Action as guidance. We encourage you to also use the resources from Saturday’s National Webinar (recording, slides, summary) as you prepare. Even if you don’t have any town halls are meetings to attend, draft the question anyway. You never know when you have the opportunity to use it, especially on short notice. As always, RESULTS staff is available to help you with drafting questions and to provide coaching for these events. Please contact Jos Linn for assistance ([email protected]).

RESULTS thanks Richelle Friedman for taking time for her busy schedule to be on the webinar this month. We also thank Kimberly Trigg of RESULTS Salina (KS) for her insights on how to use town halls to build relationships with your members of Congress. You can hear the recording of the webinar, as well as view the webinar slides and summary, on our National Webinars page.

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Got Twenty Minutes? Read New Racial Wealth Gap Report

A few weeks ago, the Corporation for Enterprise Development, the Racial Wealth Divide Initiative, and the Institute for Policy Studies released a new report on the racial wealth gap in America. The “Ever Growing Gap” report paints a sobering view of wealth stratification that cannot be ignored. The report says that if nothing is done, it will “take Black families 228 years to amass the same amount of wealth White families have today.” For Latinos, it will take 84 years. This is unacceptable.

The report does an excellent job of analyzing the various factors contributing to the racial wealth gap, as well as where things are headed if nothing is done to address it. For example, under current trends, the wealth gap between White families and Black families will grow from around $300,000 today to over $1 million by 2043. Fortunately, we can prevent this from happening. The report makes several policy recommendations to address this problem including replacing the mortgage interest tax deduction with policies that foster homeownership for low-wealth Americans, provide easier access to retirement savings for those with low-wealth, and providing every child in America a savings account at birth. The report also advocates that Congress expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to younger workers and workers without children, as well as promote tax time emergency savings, policies RESULTS is promoting in 2016.

TAKE ACTION: As we work to educate lawmakers about the scope of the racial wealth gap this year, we must also keep educating ourselves. Take twenty minutes to read the “Ever Growing Gap” report. If you have recently interacted with congressional staff on this issue, send them a copy of the report and urge them to read it as well. Highlight portions of the report that got your attention and then reiterate your request that Congress expand the EITC and use tax time as a way to promote savings for low-wealth Americans. Review our EITC and Wealth Gap Lobby Requests to see the connection between our work and the report.

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Attend Tonight’s Candidate Engagement Training at 9pm ET

To help energize and prepare you for town hall and events this month, please plan to join our Candidate Engagement Training tonight, August 16 at 9:00 pm ET. If you’re not sure what to do at these events, or if you just want to brush up on your skills, please join us. You won’t be disappointed. To participate, login online at http://fuze.me/33195710, or dial in by phone at (201) 479-4595, meeting ID 33195710#. See you then!

Note: U.S. Poverty Free Agents should join this call in lieu of our normal call this month.

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Quick News

Use Presidential Economic Speeches for LTE on EITC. Last week, the New York Times ran an article highlighting the fact that neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton are talking about poverty in their campaign speeches. It is a good reminder that there are important issues the candidates are ignoring. Use this piece or the content from it as a hook for a letter to the editor urging the candidates to talk about policies that will reduce poverty in America. Use our online EITC or SNAP alerts to get started.

Review Your Group Plans. With not much activity in Congress right now, this is a good time to review your 2016 Group Plans to see how you are doing with reaching your goals. Celebrate successes, make adjustments as needed, and plan how you will reach your unfulfilled goals the rest of this year. If you need a copy of your plan, please contact Jos Linn at [email protected].

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Upcoming Events

Go to the RESULTS Events Calendar to see a full list of RESULTS events. Also, find a list of the RESULTS U.S. Poverty staff with contact information on the RESULTS website.

U.S. Poverty Staff Vacation Schedules: Meredith Dodson, August 6 – 21. Jos Linn, August 31 – September 5..

Congressional Recesses: Monday, July 18 – Monday, September 5 (House and Senate). Request face-to-face meetings. After your meeting, please tell us how it went by filling out the RESULTS Lobby Report Form: www.tinyurl.com/RESLRF.

RESULTS Candidate Engagement Training, Tuesday, August 16 at 9:00 pm ET. To participate, login online at http://fuze.me/33195710, or dial in by phone at (201) 479-4595, meeting ID 33195710#. Note: U.S. Poverty Free Agents should attend this training in lieu of our August support call.

RESULTS Introductory Call, Friday, August 26, at 1:00 pm ET. If you want to learn more about RESULTS, register for an upcoming Intro Call on the RESULTS website.

RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Webinar, Saturday, September 10 at 12:30 pm ET. Join online at http://fuze.me/32255914 or by phone at (201) 479-4595, Meeting ID: 32255914#. Listen to previous webinars on our National Webinars page.

If you have a question, comment or suggestion for the RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund Board, please e-mail them to RESULTS Grassroots Board Member Vanessa Garcia at [email protected]. You can download RESULTS’ most recent Annual Report at: https://results.org/about/annual_report/.

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