November 15, 2012 – Wichita, Kansas – Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has announced that he is forming a 12 person task force to reduce child poverty in the state. Unfortunately, anyone who was paying attention last November 16, 2011, already knows what Brownback means when he says he wants to reduce child poverty.
Brownback’s plan is little more than a scam to exploit religion in the pursuit of an economic agenda…
Last November, Brownback’s administration sponsored a “town hall meeting” to “reduce child poverty”, in the Drury Hotel in Wichita, Kansas. A similar meeting was also held in the Kansas City area. During this meeting, the Heritage Foundation’s Robert Rector gave a presentation on the governor’s behalf.
Rector stated multiple times that the number one cause of child poverty is the poor decision-making process of the single mother. Rector said that women need to avoid having children until they are married, and that if women would just “marry the right man, they would not even have to work.”
Rector made almost no mention of the single, absent father who pays no support.
I was not the only person in the audience who found this presentation to be offensive. About 15 members of Occupy Wichita stood silently with our backs to Rector, for the last five minutes of his speech. When Rector was finished, Occupy Wichita performed a mic-check on the room, receiving applause from a large portion of the audience, largely comprised of professionals who work with impoverished children.
One demonstrator was violently arrested and later convicted of “obstruction of justice” by Wichita Municipal Judge Bryce Abbott, who compared the protester, Doris Ravenfeather, a 61 year old grandmother, to Martin Luther King Jr., stating that like King, Doris deserved to be arrested, for exercising her right to free speech.
The underlying goal of people like Sam Brownback and Robert Rector is simple: justify deep cuts to services to single mothers, under the guise of encouraging marriage. But Brownback’s true agenda has little to do with single mothers or the promotion of marriage. Our governor simply wants to eliminate our state’s income tax, and they have to greatly reduce the state’s budget to do so.
The governor’s new task force “aims to find cost-effective ways to make sure children understand as soon as possible that their decisions can have a lasting impact on their future.”
“All too often in our state, children who are living in poverty today become tomorrow’s poor parents. Inter-generational poverty such as this affects our state’s long-term productivity and well-being,” Brownback said in a prepared statement.
Looking at Brownback’s task force, a few names stand out among the rest. The worst is Mary Wilkinson, a member of the Kansas Family Policy Council Board of Directors, which is an anti-gay marriage group whose website’s homepage says people should support Chick-Fil-A.
Then there is Dan Lord, professor of marriage and family therapy at Friends University, a religious school. And Monsignor Vincent Krische, a senior associate at Corpus Christi Church in Lawrence, a Catholic church, and we all know their thoughts on marriage.
Brownback is manipulating religion to promote his economic agenda, again. This task force should be disbanded before it is permitted to harm the lives of our poorest, most desperate families.
Single mothers do not need men to work hard so they can stay home with the kids. Single mothers need jobs that provide a living wage, and many of them need the services that Brownback intends to cut, after his task force provides the false justification.