In the 2004 presidential campaign, solutions to the persistent poverty in our country and around the world were almost never discussed. But this year, we have a chance to change that. On Monday, June 4, the leading Democratic presidential contenders – Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and Barack Obama – will join us at Pentecost 2007: Taking the Vision to the Streets for the first-ever presidential candidates forum to focus exclusively on faith, values, and poverty.

I want your input about what questions we should ask the candidates. What concerns do you have about the future of our nation, and the least of these in our midst? How has poverty touched your family or your community? How will your faith impact how you vote in 2008?

This is our opportunity to raise these questions in the presidential campaign, first with Democratic candidates and later this year with the Republicans. We will issue a prophetic challenge to put poverty near the top of the political agenda, asking the candidates to present the nation with their plans for dramatic poverty reduction both at home and globally.

Before I decide how to vote in 2008, I want to know what the candidates plan to do for 13 million children living in poverty, 47 million Americans with no health insurance, and 3 billion people around the world who live on under $2 a day. Behind those numbers are human faces and moral tragedies – stories of working families desperately trying to make ends meet, immigrant families being torn apart, and children all over the world going to bed hungry.

I want presidential candidates to hear those stories and commit to making a difference in the lives of poor people in the United States and around the globe. And I want to know how they’re going to pay for it, given a ballooning military budget and a disastrous war in Iraq with no end in sight.If you have a question you’d like to ask the candidates, please click here to share it with us . We’ll be asking our online supporters to vote for their favorite questions before the forum, and asking the winning questions live at Pentecost 2007.

I’m looking forward to hearing your questions – and their answers.

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