"how do you engage people in questions of policy that affect them and how do you make them feel that they actually have some significant power over these issues?"
"because the people who are guilty of disempowering the population are not only the bad guys---i won't be partisan here and say who the bad guys are---it's not only the folks who are representing the special interests, quote unquote, the guys with the pinkie, y'know, diamond rings and the fat cats, sometimes it's also us, sometimes it's the experts, the advocates who are not that much better at advocating on behalf of and with the communities they purport to represent, so that the lobbyists down at springfield who represent a whole host of good causes i strongly believe in often times have very few troops behind them"
"if we are gonna win on these policy debates it will take more than simply being armed with good facts and good presentations, it will also have to do with the fact that we have mobilized a constituency around these policy questions"
“what i think will re-engage people in politics is if we’re doing significant, serious policy work around what i will label the working poor, although my definition of the working poor is not simply folks making minimum wage, but it’s also families of four who are making $30,000 a year, they are struggling, and to the extent that we are doing research figuring out what kinds of government action would successfully make their lives better, we are then putting together a potential majority coalition to move those agendas forward”
"one of the good things about welfare reform, which the 1996 legislation i did not entirely agree with and probably would have voted against at the federal level, but one good thing that comes out of it is it essentially desegregates the welfare population which is presumably black and undeserving and urban vs the working poor which are the other people"
"now you just have one batch of folks, folks who are working but don't have health insurance, aren't making much money, can't figure out day care, spend an hour and a half trying to commute to the jobs that do exist, don't have much opportunity for enhancing their skills so they could actually move up into an income bracket that would support a family"
"that is increasingly a majority population"
"the new immigrant population is much less skilled, is much more apt to be in this category of working poor that we've talked about, is having the same problems that folks who've been here awhile already are having, and what this means is that gives us an opportunity to do some organizing that we couldn't do before"