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Put a Time Limit on Poverty, Not on Welfare!

by Kim DeFranco |
October 19, 1999
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Signs with clock theme
MN-Welfare Rights Coalition protests five year time limits on welfare at Governor Ventura's mansion. (Fight Back! News/Kim DeFranco)
Smashing time clocks at Governor's Mansion to protest 5 year limit on welfare
Smashing time clocks at Governor's Mansion to protest 5 year limit on welfare.

St. Paul, MN - More than 100 people, from across the state, came to the governor's mansion on August 20 to demand that Governor Ventura "stop the time clock" on the 5-year limit on welfare. The demonstration was organized by the Minnesota Welfare Rights Coalition (MN-WRC).
Stop the Time Limits!
MN-Welfare Rights Coalition protests five year time limits on welfare at Governor Ventura's mansion
Photo by Kim Defranco

The chants, "Jesse, Jesse, you must know, the five year limit has to go!" and "Jesse, Jesse, we're at your door, stop the war on the poor!" rung out around the mansion.

The demonstration brought out the message that Minnesota's welfare law, MFIP (MN Family Investment Plan), is a disaster, and that Governor Ventura has the power to fix it.

The Minnesota welfare law put a 5-year lifetime limit on people receiving public assistance, and there are 3 years left. MN-WRC states that if the federal government refuses to stop the time clock, Governor Ventura should do it for Minnesota.

Frosty Cunningham, of Virginia, Minnesota and MN-WRC, pointed out, "The protest furthered our message that the welfare law isn't working and is hurting so many people. It caused many more people to use the soup kitchens, be homeless and there isn't enough help for everyone. The MFIP law is a disaster."

She continued, "[We are] keeping the pressure on Ventura because he's not doing right and he is not for the poor people of Minnesota. We only have 3 more years to go [before the 5 year time limit is up] and we have to keeping moving forward to change this disastrous law."
smash the 5-year limit clock!
Smashing time clocks at Governor's Mansion to protest 5 year limit on welfare
Photo By Kim Defranco

Protesters smashed clocks with sledge hammers to dramatize the need to stop the clock that is ticking on our lives, and they shouted, "Jesse what time is it? It's time to stop the clock!"

Peggy Watkins, of the Twin Cities-based Welfare Rights Committee, has had a lot of problems with the welfare system. She was kicked off the system in the winter of '97 and welfare gave her and her children a bus ticket to Detroit. In Detroit, the welfare law wasn't any better. They made her go to a work program even though she didn't have stable housing, so she made her way back to Minnesota. At the protest, she said that she wants to make changes to the welfare law so others don't have to go through what she did.

Watkins told demonstrators, "This rally is wonderful and we need more of them. It is good to be here in front of Jesse's mansion to deal with him one-on-one. Now his neighbors have a chance to see who this man really is. He's not for us."

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