Senator Feingold today criticized the Joseph Project, the anti-poverty initiative established by Ron and Pastor Jerome Smith, which has helped break cycles of poverty by connecting people with good jobs. In particular, Feingold told Wisconsin Public Radio, “It’s not enough to pick people up in a van and send them away a couple hours and have them come back exhausted at the end of the day. That doesn’t make a community.”
Ron Johnson issued the following statement: “Senator Feingold is not only denigrating the Joseph Project — he’s denigrating the dozens of hard-working people in Milwaukee and Madison who have taken these jobs and are trying to break cycles of poverty and improve their communities. I’ve come to expect shameless political attacks, but it’s sad that after 34 years in politics, Senator Feingold can only view things through the distorted lens of his own political ambition. He owes those who have participated in the Joseph Project an apology.”
Johnson Puts Faith In Church-Based Solutions To Poverty
Chuck Quirmbach, Wisconsin Public Radio
October 25, 2016
Wisconsin’s major party U.S. Senate candidates, Democrat Russ Feingold and Republican incumbent Ron Johnson, disagree over whether a faith-based jobs program is the best remedy for poverty in Milwaukee.
Johnson is promoting the Joseph Project, an initiative that he helped create, in which a Milwaukee African-American church helps residents with employment training and transportation to jobs in Sheboygan and Waukesha.
But Feingold argues the incumbent should look at bigger solutions for tackling poverty.
“It’s not enough to pick people up in a van and send them away a couple hours and have them come back exhausted at the end of the day,” Feingold said. “That doesn’t make a community.”
There needs to be more investment in minority-owned businesses, community policing and in public schools, Feingold said.
Johnson said the Joseph Project is prompting other businesses to look at locating in low-income Milwaukee neighborhoods.
“We’re hoping what the Joseph Project demonstrates is a lot of good people here want to work. They’re great workers,” he said, adding that Feingold doesn’t have a clue about creating jobs.