Illinois Governor Pat Quinn addressed the issues of poverty, education, and President Barack Obama’s economic recovery plan during an afternoon policy meeting at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition headquarters on Friday.
“We must unite and work together” said Gov. Quinn. “We want to make sure the money from the federal stimulus gets to all zip codes and all neighborhoods. We have to make sure we do that here in Illinois”
Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, welcomed Gov. Quinn to shares his administration’s agenda but stressed the importance of getting stimulus money to those who really need it.
“We must measure ourselves by how we treat the least of these,” Rev. Jackson stated. Illinois state officials must make sure stimulus dollars reach all people. State agencies must meaningfully engage women and minority business owners. We must end the top down regimen that goes from the State, to lobbyists, to contractors, to unions but never trickles down to the bottom.”
Rev. Jackson went on to explain that much of America’s economic crisis is due to not enforcing laws of inclusion and lack of oversight by government.
“Too few got too much without oversight,” he said. “Laws to protect those who have been historically excluded must now be enforced.”
According to the Chicago Tribune, Mayor Daley refused to publicly release the list of projects he would complete with money from a federal economic stimulus package when asked to do so by 46 aldermen.
“This goes directly against President Obama’s desires,” said Rev. Jackson. “President Obama and the Congress are getting the stimulus out of Washington. The big challenge we face now is getting it down to the people.”
Rev. Jackson continued to advocate for affordable higher education, calling specifically for a 1% interest rate on student loans.
The Rainbow PUSH Coalition is offering an education stimulus plans that calls on Congress to: • Reduce the interest rate on all student loans to 1 percent. • Extend the grace period before loan repayment begins from 6 months to 18 months for students who graduate. • Forgo penalizing schools for student loan defaults. • Increase Pell Grants to $10,000 rather than $5,300 as the stimulus package does.
Governor Quinn shared in the sentiment that any student who has the capacity to attend college should not be denied the opportunity due to lack of funds.
“The world is made up of the movers and shakers or the moved and the shaken,” said Governor, Quinn. “The difference between the two groups is education.”
The Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a progressive organization devoted to protecting, defending and expanding civil rights to improve economic and educational opportunity. The organization is headquartered at 930 E. 50th St. in Chicago. To learn more, please visit www.rainbowpush.org or call (773) 373-3366. To arrange an interview with Rev. Jackson, please call the numbers listed above. -30-