The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

March 11, 2013

Oak Hill to host meeting on child poverty this week

By C.V. Moore
Register-Herald Reporter

OAK HILL — In a meeting that organizers are calling “unprecedented,” the Senate Select Committee on Child Poverty will meet outside the Capitol and in Fayette County this week to discuss issues related to children and poverty.

The meeting will be held March 13 at 7 p.m. at the Southern Appalachian Labor School’s (SALS) facility at 140 School Street in Oak Hill.

The committee, which held its first meeting Feb. 20, is hoping to hear about the issues directly from families, churches, organizations and community members. All are encouraged to attend, speak and listen.

Sen. John Unger chairs the Senate Select Committee. Both District 10 senators — Sen. William R. Laird, D-Fayette, and Sen. Ronald F. Miller, D-Greenbrier — are members and say they will attend the meeting.

“It is important that people come to tell their stories of despair, hope and needs,” wrote John David of SALS in an e-mail invitation.

“Basically, the senators want to listen and learn, and we need your help to make the session be one that permits them to have a reality check and initiate a process to ‘walk the talk.’”

The committee’s work has been spurred by a state-wide, multi-issue campaign called “Our Children, Our Future,” sponsored by the West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition and over 100 partner organizations.

Through a democratic process they have created a 10-issue platform that includes big issues like family violence prevention, prison reform, stopping child care cuts, teen pregnancy and health care for working families.

Over the coming weeks, “Our Children, Our Future” partners and allies will be holding a series of regional forums throughout the state to encourage political leaders to sign on to their platform and build momentum for their next big event on April 7, where they will focus on Medicaid expansion.

The group recently held such a regional forum on in Fayette County at the Lewis Community Center.

For more information on the legislative committee, contact Paul Sheridan, Counsel to the Select Committee, at 304-357-4490 or paul.sheridan@wvsenate.gov.

For more information about the “Our Children, Our Future” campaign, contact Stephen Smith at the West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition at ssmith@wvhealthykids.org.

— E-mail: cmoore@register-herald.com