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Archive for Friday, December 1, 2000

Legislature called ‘unresponsive’ to poor

December 1, 2000

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— Mary Becker has been lobbying the Legislature on behalf of working Kansans for several years.

And she hasn't liked what she has seen.

"From my observations, the Legislature has been largely unresponsive to the needs and concerns of lower-income Kansans," she said.

So, over the course of the past year, Becker, head of a group called Kansans Respond, and dozens of like-minded folks have formed a coalition that they hope will become a force when the Legislature starts its session in January.

The coalition Kansas Action Network rallied Thursday at the Statehouse in support of a living wage bill in Congress and attempts to increase the state minimum wage in Kansas.

"We see this coalition as a necessity to bring these issues forward and put pressure on," said Becker, who serves as vice president of the coalition.

In addition to the wage issues, the group will push a number of labor, education, agriculture and welfare issues, Becker said.

The coalition comprises more than a dozen statewide and local groups. Some of those are the Kansas AFL-CIO, G.I. Forum, Kansas Adapt, Kansas Ecumenical Ministries, Kansas Farmer's Union, Lawrence Coalition for Peace and Justice and the Statewide Independent Living Council of Kansas.

Working together, Becker said she hopes the broad-based coalition will make its mark.

"We feel fairly determined to become an influential force in Kansas politics," she said.

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