Interfaith Coalition Asks Candidates: What About the Poor?

October 1, 2008

Author: Leon Cohen

Source: The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

A national interfaith coalition, “Fighting Poverty With Faith,” wants to turn candidates’ attention from the middle class to the poor.

“In the next few months” of the election season, participants will “keep asking the candidates” — national and local — “what are you going to do in your first 100 days” in office to help the impoverished, said Steve Gutow, executive director of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.

The JCPA is the umbrella organization for 14 national Jewish organizations and some 125 local Jewish community relations councils, including the Milwaukee Jewish Council for Community Relations.

The participants want to tell candidates “it’s not just about ‘What are you going to do about the middle class?’ which is what candidates like to talk about; but ‘What are you going to do about the poor who are suffering the most and will suffer the most?’”

“Most of the candidates, when they realize that we care this much, they’re more likely” to take action, said Gutow in an interview with The Chronicle last week. “To have us all together in a room is a lot for a Congress member or a city council member to see and ignore.”

Gutow spoke in Milwaukee on Sept. 17 at an interfaith event hosted by a Milwaukee coalition of religious organizations — including the MJCCR, Tikkun Ha-Ir of Milwaukee and the Wisconsin Council of Rabbis — that has signed onto a national effort called Fighting Poverty With Faith.