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For Immediate Release

Date: 03/14/11

Rep. Dale Crafts Named to Maine Council on Poverty

AUGUSTA - State Rep. Dale Crafts has been appointed to the Maine Council on Poverty and Economic Security, which advises the governor and the Legislature on the most effective steps to improve the economic situation of state residents who are poor or near poor.

The council, established in 2008, convened for the first time in 2009 and focused on such things as energy security, health care, affordable housing and hunger. It defines poverty as having family income below the nonfarm official poverty line - for example, less than $22,050 for a family of four.

"I'm pleased to be named to the council by House Speaker Nutting," said Rep. Crafts (R-Lisbon). "Maine has had a poverty problem for a long time, and the recession has obviously made it worse. According to the latest Census data, almost one in every nine Mainers is living in poverty. The high rate contributes to numerous social disorders, including drug abuse, domestic violence and crime.

"It's a clich to say that the best anti-poverty program is a good job," he added. "But that's true, and our new governor is on the right track with his emphasis on education, economic development and job creation. While the state can help set the conditions for personal success, it cannot guarantee it. The most critical ingredient is personal drive and determination to succeed, and no government council can supply that."

The 21-member council includes six legislators and 15 members representing diverse populations, such as one disabled person who has experience poverty, one representative of children living in poverty, two members of the business community and representatives of economic development agencies.

Under the council's charter, it has seven defined duties, such as identifying the risk factors and underlying causes of poverty; examining the long-term effects of poverty on individuals, their families and their communities; and examining anti-poverty programs to identify inadequacies or gaps in coverage. It also is charged with recommending policy changes geared toward the reduction or elimination of poverty. ###

Contact:
Jay Finegan
Maine House Republicans
Tel: (207) 287-1445