Exactly one year after this article appeared Jan. 20, 2016, we will be inaugurating the next President. Former Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich and myself wrote the following about poverty in America:
“Deep-rooted challenges facing our country often simmer in the background during election years because they have been with us for generations, failing to garner headlines or trend on Twitter feeds.”
Jack Kemp showed us it doesn’t have to be this way. Kemp visited public housing projects, he engaged his employees, and united the country on the need to empower people. He refused to accept the status quo of poverty in America and so should we.
This article is part 2 of 3 posts on how the Jack Kemp Foundation offers us a blueprint for creating opportunity in America – helping people escape poverty instead of being trapped in it.
Our first blog article featured excerpts from the Foundation’s “Quarterback in the Cabinet” video panel where senior officials who served under Kemp, journalist Morton Kondracke, Center for Neighborhood Enterprise President Bob Woodson and former Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith leave us an oral history. Kemp once said, “history matters,” – yes it does.
The department Kemp led, Housing and Urban Development, can be made more relevant today by focusing on the link between poverty and homelessness, motivating employees and monitoring its own progress.
Here are the next three excerpts of that video
1. Motivate Employees
He used his retail political skills…to work the building and it changed the way people thought about going to work every day. That was the fundamental difference.
2. Assess Results
He was very good with just one or two questions getting right down to where we were and what the results were.
3. Clear responsibilities
Everybody knew their role, there was no gray area . It was very black and white what you were responsible for . His role was to give (HUD) direction. People knew what he was saying internally and externally, that’s how he managed the place, and it worked.