From rookies to policy pushers: Our Children Our Future kicks off 2019 Legislative Platform

Attendees at the Our Children Our Future kick-off discuss 2019 platform ideas focusing on health, education and government accountability.

BUCKHANNON – Our Children Our Future hosted a rookie training camp at its annual meeting held in Buckhannon last week to begin finalizing its platform for the 2019 Legislative Session.

Jennifer Wells, executive director of West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition, said that Our Children Our Future is the advocacy arm of her organization.

“Today is the annual meeting and it’s our official Our Children Our Future Legislative Platform kick off,” Wells said. “For the past several months, community members we have been organizing with and organizing alongside  have decided on issues they want to push or introduce at the legislation session in 2019.

“Today is a day for them to build their team even stronger, hone their pitch, pitch their issues to the larger group and we are going to formulate and devise our platform under three pillars this year.”

In years past, the OCOF platform was decided by vote – either online or paper ballot but Wells said they are trying a different strategy.

“This year, we are not going to make it competitive in that sense,” she said. “We are going to look more towards the idea of focusing on committed pillars that our organization will commit to working along West Virginians on – issues that affect health, education and government accountability.

“When issue teams pitch today, it will be them explaining the issue they are fighting for this year at the session and under which team it will rest,” she said. “We will help them build their team even stronger and get to work on actually getting those things pushed through in the session.”

The ultimate goal and mission of Our Children Our Future is to make West Virginia the best place to live, work and raise a family, addressing and eliminating poverty in West Virginia, according to Wells.

“All of the issues in some way address poverty and eliminating it statewide, whether it be on a local, regional or state level,” she said.

Jan. 15 is Kids and Families Day at the West Virginia Legislature.

“These teams will probably join with a whole lot of other people physically in Charleston to make a push for their issues,” she said.

Wells is two months into the new job and introduced a new component to the training this year.

“We are actually teaching our activists and organizers how to do this work while also emphasizing self care and the fact that it is hard work but we can still enjoy fighting the righteous fight for policy change.”

The 2019 legislative passion will be made available to the public when finalized. For more information, visit www.wvhealthykids.org, Our Children Our Future on Facebook.

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