Citing the need for a permanent effort to address poverty at the County level, Dane County Supervisor Heidi Wegleitner today announced the formation of the Dane County Poverty Commission, growing from the 2009 report of the county’s Task Force on Poverty.
"We can and must continue to support the human needs of those marginalized by poverty and growing inequality.” Wegleitner said. “But we also have to look at root causes. We need to prioritize equitable economic development and provide opportunities for persons of all income levels to live, work, and thrive in their community. We need to be taking care of people in poverty while simultaneously helping them climb out of it.”
The commission will consist of five to seven County Supervisors, the County Executive or a designee, and three to five citizen members.
The creation of the commission was a recommendation in the 2009 report of the County’s Task Force on Poverty. The Task Force made a number of other recommendations which are currently in various stages of implementation.
“The Task Force came up with some great ideas, but we can’t just let those ideas drift away,” said Supervisor Jennie Dye, who served on the Task Force and currently serves on the Human Services Board. “The Task Force was always going to be temporary. The commission is a permanent fixture in county government now. It just demonstrates the commitment our elected leaders have to solving these deep, difficult problems.”
“Honestly, just having a permanent presence in county government is already a big step forward,” said Greta Hansen, Executive Director of Community Action Coalition of South Central Wisconsin. “The commission will do good work, I’m sure, but you don’t know how much it means just to have someone show they care. The fact that this commission now exists proves that the county government cares. That goes a long way toward giving people hope.”
Appointments to the commission will be made in the coming weeks and months, and the commission will begin its work in the fall.
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