Earlier this week, I had the chance to participate in a press conference held by Our Children Our Future, the campaign to end child poverty in West Virginia. At the conference, we laid out our legislative goals for the coming year.
Among the top five priorities are:
*securing funding for key family support programs. Over the last few years, funding for these has been cut and then restored after a major hassle. We're hoping for a better solution this time.
*expanding access to early childhood education. A little invested here can yield and save a lot down the road.
*reforming WV's juvenile justice system. I mean really, how much sense does it make to lock up truants at a cost of over $100,000 per year compared to dealing with the problem in the community.
*protecting Medicaid and CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program) at the state and federal level and expanding access to mental health coverage.
*protecting WV's drinking water. Despite last year's Freedom Industries chemical spill that poisoned the water of 300,000 West Virginians, some in the legislature want to gut last year's water safety bill. We are not amused.
It's going to be a changed landscape next year politically, but we're hoping to find bipartisan support for these key issues.
You can read more here, here, and here.