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Hard-working people in Madison County are in need of some assistance as the cost of living rises and wages remain stagnant.

The latest United Way ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained Employment) report shows that 39% of Madison County residents are either living in poverty or on the verge of it. While that number is a slight improvement over recent years, the measurement was taken before the novel coronavirus hit.

United Way uses these reports to address lawmakers on public assistance issues such as food stamps and housing zoning.

Government spending is often painted in a negative light, and public assistance programs are often stigmatized as “handouts,” but it would be a far reach to make that argument here.

The people of Madison County mentioned in this report are employed, tax-paying residents who are struggling in hard economic times. When we account for the pandemic, we know that some people have lost jobs through no fault of their own, and some employers have even had to close their businesses.

Needs for housing assistance, health care, more jobs and better education are growing.

We should urge our local and state lawmakers to focus their efforts on reviving our economy and helping those who are struggling to make ends meet.

This is a major election year, which gives us the opportunity to elect leaders that earn our confidence that they will work for the best interests for the working class folks who need a hand up in these challenging times.

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