A non-profit agency is linking up lawmakers and low-income Central Iowans in a state version of a national program. Clarissa Thompson is the coordinator of the “Walk a Mile” program. She says Walk a Mile matches policymakers with “low-income constituents” to develop a relationship and walk a mile in each other’s shoes. Thompson says each individual gets a chance to find out how the other half lives. She says, “the pairs, or matches is what we call them, will talk weekly on the phone, and attend two routine activities that reflect the daily life of each of us. So one activity from the policymaker’s life and one activity from the low-income person’s life. And the policymakers will be using a food budget that is based upon the federal food assistance allotment they would receive if they were receiving that assistance.” Thompson says they have some simple goals. She says they hope that both individuals will establish a greater understanding and awareness of the issues and the demands that they both face. The program is using lawmakers from Hardin, Marshall, Poweshiek, Story and Tama counties.
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