In the past years, the poverty rate in the St.Cloud area has doubled. Currently, 26% of St. Cloud lives in poverty. Of course this is disturbing. But what should concern us just as much is the fact that poverty has grown even though our unemployment rate is under 4%. Statistics like these are complicated, but it is crystal clear many of our neighbors have jobs but also struggle to make ends meet. Add to this the members of our community who live in distress, who spend the bulk of their income on housing, and you see that our economy is not what it should be and not what we deserve.
Economic inequality is not an issue only for those who suffer. When paychecks only cover the basics of survival, our neighbors can’t support their local businesses, and those businesses in turn can’t grow the way they should. In addition to being unfair and immoral, this disparity is bad for all of us.
When I am in office, I will strengthen our nonprofit sector to increase social mobility, invest in education to prepare capable workers who can grow with their occupations, and develop incentives to foster entrepreneurship and local business.