- The Washington Times - Friday, September 30, 2011

Thank you for calling attention to the startling poverty numbers in Virginia in Monday’s article “Virginia’s ‘deep poverty’ rate up 20 percent since 2007” (Web). Few news outlets drew attention to these staggering numbers and the stories of the families and children the numbers represent.

Our state is home to four of the 10 wealthiest counties in the country, a point that is harshly juxtaposed with the fact that nearly 9 percent of Virginia’s children are living in poverty. The recently released 2010 data reveal what many of us already know: Too many Virginians are falling behind and in many cases, despite having jobs, are unable to support themselves or their families.

As an individual of strong personal faith, I am appalled that so many of my Virginian neighbors are living in such desperate poverty. Society’s most vulnerable people are being ignored while the state claims to make laws governed by a sense of morality. When did poverty stop becoming a moral issue, not just for religious people, but for all of us?

Too often, it feels as if many of our elected officials don’t consider the basic needs of our neighbors in their policymaking. At all levels of government, our elected officials should make working families a priority in order to move them into positions of economic independence that are sustainable. To ignore the staggering needs of so many would be a detriment to all Virginians and our great commonwealth.

ANNE MURPHY

Arlington