"Walk a Mile" Program Pairs Legislators with Low Income Constituents
December 28, 2007
Albany, New York – The Low Income Forum on Energy (LIFE) is sponsoring a unique educational opportunity across New York State through the national “Walk a Mile” Program, partnering New York State legislators and low-income constituents, one-on-one, for a month of “walking a mile in each others’ shoes.”
Eighteen legislators from the New York State Assembly and the New York State Senate, along with Paul D. Tonko, President and CEO of NYSERDA, will be paired together with low-income families from around New York State during this month-long project, beginning on January 14, 2008 and ending on February 11, 2008. Participants will meet face to face, conduct telephone meetings, and have opportunities to share daily activities. Legislators will also be asked to live on a Food Stamp budget during the project.
These closely shared experiences between policy makers and those who are directly affected by those policies provide a deeper and fuller understanding of the issues and obstacles families face when living on public assistance. Simultaneously, participants will have an opportunity to better understand the policy making process and help identify solutions to address the issues they face.
Paul D. Tonko, NYSERDA president and CEO said, “To better understand another person’s life, try walking in their shoes. The Walk a Mile program offers this unique opportunity, which will create a deeper understanding of the difficult issues low-income families struggle with, including the high cost of energy. With this personal understanding, we, as policy makers, are able to respond to these struggles with policy that provides a more sensitive and meaningful outcome, and I am proud, on behalf of NYSERDA, to be a part of this inspirational, forward-thinking initiative.”
The project will culminate with a reception held at the Second Annual Poverty Symposium, sponsored by the New York State Community Action Association (NYSCAA) on February 25, 2008. Following on May 20-21, 2008 , a keynote address at the LIFE Statewide Conference, will be held at the Albany Marriott.
The Low Income Forum on Energy (LIFE) is sponsored by the New York State Department of Public Service and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).
Garry Brown, incoming Chairman of the New York State Public Service Commission, said, “One of the most important first steps a government official or policymaker can take is to move toward better understanding the challenges disadvantaged people face on a day-to-day basis. Through this innovative program, policymakers are matched with low-income constituents to bridge the gap between those who make policy and those who are often most dependent on those policies. I am pleased we have started this very worthwhile initiative. I am confident this outreach effort will become an important resource in our continuing efforts to help support struggling low-income families.”
“Walk a Mile” is a national program based in Seattle , Washington . The program has trained and provided technical assistance to organizations in 36 states to successfully coordinate projects. For more information, visit the national “Walk a Mile” website at www.walkamile.org or contact Natasha Grossman at 206-543-3027.
Contact: Colleen Ryan, NYSERDA,
518-862-1090, ext. 3359 or email@example.com
Last Updated: 10/19/2012