Leon Reed shares the results of recent studies on poverty in Adams County and Pennsylvania to help answer why poverty prevails in the U.S. even when the economy has flourished. The definition of poverty now includes single persons making $20,000 or less and a family of four making $59,000 or less. He observes that the two fundamental issues are jobs and housing. In the justice system, the poor who get charged with misdemeanors have difficulty making bail and paying fines, resulting in their return to prison. Meanwhile, federal and state funding has dropped drastically to the point where programs that help are being curtailed or shut down.
In this second interview, Leon Reed, former aide to Senator William Proxmire, suggests what we can expect from the new Congress in the next two years, although he admits that many of these ideas will not necessarily be approved by the Senate or signed by the president. In addition to continuing investigations into election interference, campaign reform, the tax bill, minimum wage, and “Obamacare,” he recommends two areas and two committees to watch. 1) In the Agriculture Committee, the pros and cons of tariffs. 2) In Homeland Security Committee, facts and figures about border security; the effect of global warming on the economy; and the disaster in Puerto Rico.
Mr. Reed, a former congressional aid to Senator William Proxmire of Wisconsin, recommends the restoration of four procedures in the House of Representatives that were discarded under House Speakers Newt Gingrich and Dennis Hastert, beginning in 1994. 1) Restore power to committees and chairs rather than three or four majority leaders. 2) Introduce legislation by a regular process of information gathering and discussion rather than in secret. 3) Include minority participation in these proceedings. 4) Make a good-faith effort to get bi-partisan support.
Megan Shreve, CEO, South Central Community Action Programs, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania talks housing on this episode of the Seminary Explores. The “Wage Gap,” perhaps the most significant contribution to the housing crisis, occurs when a working family on minimum wage does not qualify for aid, but doesn’t have enough to cover the necessities of food, health, transportation, and child care. In addition, declining resources from state and federal governments are threatening even the most basic programs such as overnight shelters. SCAAP has created two innovative, and biblical, programs that involve community resources. “Support Circles” provide dinner and child care as well as action strategies to rise out of the gap. “Gleaning” allows families to harvest agricultural products that growers can’t market.
Gretchen Natter is the Executive Director of the Center for Public Service and Assistant Dean of College Life, Gettysburg College; and Communications Liaison, Project Gettysburg-Leon. In this podcast she describes the current political crisis in Nicaragua brought about by protests against President Daniel Ortega, the long-time leader of the Sandinista Movement that overthrew the Somoza dictatorship but is now using similar tactics to suppress opposition. The situation has directly affected the work of groups that encourage cultural interchange and assistance such as Project Gettysburg-Leon and others around the country.
Kim Davidson, Director, Center for Public Service, Gettysburg College, recently returned from a study tour of El Paso, TX and Juarez, Mexico maintains that current policy toward Mexican and Central American immigrants is based on racism, and that it is made more acute by the lack of transparency in the practices of I.C.E. (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). She suggests several things that advocates can do, including making their voices heard and providing legal services to those wrongly detained.
Judy and David Young from Gettysburg for Gunsense share the efforts being made by this group to promote common sense gun legislation and responsible gun ownership. Learn how things have changed since the tragedy in Parkland, Florida and what the group’s hopes are for the future.
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In a conversation with Fran Quigley the Seminary Explores learns of some deeply-held misconceptions we have about drug costs, the urgency for change, and how people of faith might fit in. Quigley is Clinical Professor and Director of the Health and Human Rights Clinic at Indiana University McKinney School of Law. He is the author of four books: Prescription for the People: An Activist’s Guide to Making Medicine Affordable for All, If We Can Win Here, How Human Rights Can Build Haiti, and Walking Together, Walking Far.
Clay Pasqual, a college senior, spent the summer as intern for the Fund for American Studies in the Institute for Business and Governmental Affairs. The focus of his work dealt with healthcare issues in the United States. The internship included:
- Attending congressional hearings
- Working on Press Releases and Community Materials
- Attending and participating in a seminar
- Expanding healthcare to include issues beyond medicinal and hospitalization, i.e. socio-economic
Dr. Dwight Michael, physician in family practice with Gettysburg Family Practice and member of Physicians for a National Health Program and Health Care for All Pennsylvania, believes that healthcare is a human right, recognized as such by every modern industrialized nation except the United States. Opponents have not considered the savings that a single-payer system would bring to the economy; on the contrary, he asserts, the cost of not adopting universal health care will be counted in the trillions by 2020.
Please note this discussion was recorded on July 7, 2017, references to specific bills in Congress should understood in this context.