WASHINGTON -- November 9 -- The election is over. President Bush has been elected to a second term and his opponent, Sen. John Kerry, have gotten past the animosity of the campaign and have vowed to work together. It is time for Americans, regardless of party affiliation, to do the same. Because as viewers stayed glued to their televisions listening to anchors banter about red and blue states, 110 Americans continued to live in or near poverty. This was clearly a very polarized election that demonstrated the vast differences among voters. Some expressed concerns about the war in Iraq, while others focused on values. But there is a war on poverty raging here in our backyards that we must fight with all our efforts. And poverty is among the wide spectrum of moral issues the country must grapple with. Jobs, health care, and the economy were also on the minds of voters during the election and will remain a concern. People want to know that they will be able to care for their families and save for their retirement, but instead they are faced with job losses and rising health care costs. As a result, there are currently 110 million Americans living in or near poverty.
Now is the time to heal and follow the lead of President Bush and Sen. Kerry by working together to fight an evil that knows no party, racial, or social lines-poverty. We can all find common ground in eradicating poverty no matter what issue was on our minds as we cast our ballots.
At their recent "No Room for Poverty" National Rally, the Community Action Partnership, the nation's largest anti-poverty organization, called on both President Bush and Sen. Kerry to convene a White House Conference on American Poverty if elected. Now that President Bush has been reelected, we are encouraging him to hold such a conference. The Partnership and its 1,000-member Community Action Agency network, have currently launched a signature gathering campaign in support of this effort. The goal is one million signatures demonstrating that a significant number of people feel that poverty is a serious problem and want it addressed by the White House.
President Bush has expressed a desire to become a uniter, not a divider. Convening a White House Conference on American Poverty will be a major step toward that goal.
Based in Washington, DC, the Community Action Partnership is the national association representing the interests of the 1,000 Community Action Agencies (CAAs) organized to change people's lives, embody the spirit of hope, improve communities, and make America a better place to live. CAAs care about the entire community and are dedicated to helping people help themselves and each other. For more information about the Partnership and CAAs, visit the association's website at www.communityactionpartnership.com