On Jan. 8, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a War on Poverty during his first State of the Union address, highlighting a national crisis and human rights issue that affected millions of Americans. A host of transformative programs Medicare, Medicaid and the Food Stamp Program, to name a few sprung from this bold declaration. But despite the success of these programs, the cycle of poverty and rampant inequality continues to hold back countless families across the nation.
Here in New York, nearly 3 million people live in poverty, including over 900,000 children. This is simply unacceptable. This is a human tragedy. Now more than ever, we must increase opportunity and empower individuals and communities to lift themselves up and ensure that no one is left behind. Thats why the Assembly Majority has continued its bold Families First Agenda, which includes increasing funding for our schools, access to affordable health care and housing and ensuring a living wage for all New Yorkers. Were also working to overhaul our states cash bail system because locking people up based on their inability to pay undermines the very principles of our criminal justice system.
Our progressive policies, like those championed by President Johnson 55 years ago, are grounded in the idea that we cannot simply treat the symptoms of poverty we must do everything we can to prevent it. Ill keep working each and every day to ensure all New Yorkers have the opportunities they need to thrive and live secure and dignified lives.