ON-Lion Letter
In December, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin delivered the keynote address at the Jack Kemp Foundation's Leadership Award Dinner in Washington, D.C.  Ryan won the first Kemp Leadership Award last year.  This year's award was given to U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.

"Government must act for the common good, while leaving private groups free to do the work that only they can do," Ryan said.  "There's a vast middle ground between the government and the individual.  Our families and our neighborhoods, the groups we join and our places of worship -- this is where we live our lives.  This is where the needs of each are most clearly recognized -- and met. Communities shape our character.  They give our lives direction.  And they help make us a self-governing people.

"The campaign of 2012 was filled with moments I'll always remember," he continued.  "One of my favorites was a chance to meet with a group of community leaders in Cleveland, Ohio.  They'd been brought together by Bob Woodson, whose Center for Neighborhood Enterprise [CNE] empowers community organizations to improve people’s lives."

Woodson is a Bradley Prize recipient, and Milwaukee's Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation substantially supports CNE.

"Among those Bob brought to Cleveland that day was a man named Brian Wade," Ryan remembered.  "Brian's story will always stay with me.  When he and his wife felt called to open a homeless shelter, they didn’t just volunteer their time.  They moved their family -- a baby and two young ones -- into the shelter and lived there for seven years.

"When policymakers try to help struggling families, these are the kinds of leaders we should listen to," Ryan went on.  "We must look first to those who have already done the hard work of fighting poverty. Their example must inform our approach.  And government must work with them, not against them, or over them.

"[W]e must come together and advance new strategies for lifting people out of poverty," he concluded.  "Looking around this room -- at the men and women carrying on Jack Kemp's legacy, and at leaders like Marco Rubio, who will be our partners in this great effort -- I know we will answer the call.  Our cause is right, and the good fight for the American Idea will go on until it is within reach for all people."
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