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On January 8, 1964, in his first State of the Union speech, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a "War On Poverty." Johnson's declaration came just weeks after succeeding to the White House upon the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Making poverty a national concern set in motion a series of bills and acts, creating programs such as Head Start, food stamps, work study, Medicare and Medicaid, which still exist today. The programs initiated under Johnson brought about real results, reducing rates of poverty and improved living standards for America's poor. While the poverty rate has remained steady since the 1970s, today the WV Office of Economic Opportunity is dedicated to continuing the fight through the support of innovative and strong programs with a focus on changing the lives of West Virginians, strengthening agency capacity and strengthening WV communities.

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