Lucy Barnhart

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“Right now, many have a cultural bias about people receiving public benefits – they think that they could do more. 

We need to raise awareness about how wages don’t keep up with the cost of living - that is what really contributes most to the cycle of poverty. ”

Lucy lives in Hancock County.  She has always worked—often at multiple jobs—to raise her daughter as a single mom.  Today Lucy is 54.  She works full-timeat Washington Hancock Community Agency where she strives to make a difference in her community.

Lucy has always worked hard, but understands that full-time work does not necessarily translate into a livable wage.  She is also aware that women often earn less for their work and that inequity keeps many single working moms below the poverty line. For these reasons Lucy believes that improving Maine’s Earned Income Tax Credit would provide much needed income support for working families.  Lucy is not alone. Four in five (82%) people with low income think it would be an effective strategy to reduce poverty.  So does the general public.  Responding in roughly the same proportion (78%), likely Maine voters of all income levels thought that increasing “tax credits for working families” would be an effective poverty reduction strategy.

As a single mom, Lucy also recognizes that access to Head Start and Pre-K can be vitally important for both children and their parents. She understands that the greatest chance of providing for the future educational success of young children is through investments early in life. Educational success is, after all, one of the most proven pathways to opportunity and out of poverty. At least three out of four Maine people agree with Lucy – access to pre-school education is an effective strategy to reduce poverty.