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Jobs for adults: Best way to end childhood poverty

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  • Lesson from Ferguson: Do not lose hope

    Lesson from Ferguson: Do not lose hope

    Friday, August 22 2014 8:00 AM EDT2014-08-22 12:00:24 GMT
    The images from Ferguson, Missouri, look like snapshots from a war zone. We still don't know why city police officer Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown, but we do know the fallout shines a glaring light on what happens when scores of people are disconnected from the American Dream.
    The images from Ferguson, Missouri, look like snapshots from a war zone. We still don't know why city police officer Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown, but we do know the fallout shines a glaring light on what happens when scores of people are disconnected from the American Dream.
  • Political bickering overshadows need for change

    Political bickering overshadows need for change

    Friday, August 15 2014 11:39 AM EDT2014-08-15 15:39:41 GMT
    New ideas and ways to move our state and nation forward are in short supply during this election season.
    New ideas and ways to move our state and nation forward are in short supply during this election season.
  • Diversifying our economy will make it more resilient

    Diversifying our economy will make it more resilient

    Friday, August 8 2014 6:00 AM EDT2014-08-08 10:00:18 GMT
    We have been hit hard with some tough economic news in recent days about our state’s most recognized industry. We learned that Alpha Natural Resources could lay off more than 1,000 workers later this year. Another report showed that it is becoming cheaper for domestic energy producers to import coal from other countries than to use what is mined in the U.S.
    We have been hit hard with some tough economic news in recent days about our state’s most recognized industry. We learned that Alpha Natural Resources could lay off more than 1,000 workers later this year. Another report showed that it is becoming cheaper for domestic energy producers to import coal from other countries than to use what is mined in the U.S.

It's admirable that state leaders are holding forums throughout the state to address West Virginia's crippling and generational poverty. The West Virginia Senate Select Committee on Children and Poverty convened for its first field meeting last week in Oak Hill. A standing-room crowd addressed the committee, which is chaired by Sen. John Unger, D-Berkeley, and shared heartbreaking stories about children living in dilapidated, unsafe homes and going without food for days at a time. 

For far too long, this state has been gripped by seemingly inescapable poverty. We deserve better than this. We hope the committee hears these concerns, takes them back to Charleston and does something to create prosperity.

Entitlement programs and short-term fixes are not going to address the issue. If we're going to give those with less means a shot at something better, then we need to welcome investment and job creation. Handouts won't work.

If this committee is going to positively impact the lives of those looking to escape poverty, they must understand that more government is not the answer.  They must know that a vital, thriving and hiring private sector is the only sustainable way to change. Growing up poor should not bar someone from the American Dream.