The South is the fastest-growing region in the country, but Louisiana is lagging behind our regional peers. Despite our favorable location with beautiful coastal waterfronts, access to the Mississippi, and tolerable weather, Louisiana struggles to prosper. Rampant inescapable poverty has been a staple of urban and rural areas in the South for generations. Many see government support and intervention as a solution to this problem. But after decades of endeavors like this, it’s undeniable — the status quo has failed many and something has to be done.

With this is in mind, the Pelican Institute, the Texas Public Policy Foundation, and the Georgia Center for Opportunity have created the Alliance for Opportunity, a three-state coalition to coordinate a powerful anti-poverty agenda for our states and that will serve as a model for the rest of the country. The Alliance for Opportunity has one core goal — lift one million people out of poverty over the next ten years. We will accomplish this by identifying and removing policies that serve as barriers to prosperity in Louisiana, Texas, and Georgia.

The Alliance has published a detailed policy agenda available for all to see and weigh in on. The road map is divided into three critical pillars:

  1. Keep vulnerable Americans on track by acting as a watchdog for public assistance programs, promoting self-sufficiency, encouraging programs that help people find work, and advocating for financial independence.
  2. Ensure everyone has a right to earn a living by improving career readiness in education, auditing public career training programs for effectiveness, and removing burdensome barriers to employment.
  3. Improve criminal justice outcomes before, during, and after incarceration.

Building consensus around the roadmap set forth by The Alliance for Opportunity will be difficult. It will require efforts from communities, statehouses, and Congress. However, it’s past time we fight for bold solutions that put human flourishing front and center. We welcome feedback and cooperation from all interested parties regardless of political affiliation. We look forward to diving deeper into the proposed policy solutions in the coming weeks, in future blog posts and at our annual Solutions Summit.