My name is Keena Mullins and I have been honored to serve the WVEC as Vice-President during the past year. In December 2017, I was elected to the position of Board President. I joined the Ecouncil because I think that through advocacy and creative organizing, we can make a real impact at the legislature. I’m impressed with the history and purpose of the WVEC, and all those who’ve been involved so long have managed to accomplish. I’m humbled to have the opportunity to lead our organization as we adapt, but you’ll see that clean air and water continue to be the “north star” that guides us.
The West Virginia Environmental Council has been hard at work for the past few months asking ourselves important questions. How can we play a unique role in protecting the environment in West Virginia? How can we maximize our impact? How can we become better overall?
We will be putting our reflections into action in 2018. Member and supporting organizations of WVEC received a questionnaire in fall 2017- and we are thankful to each and every respondent for your feedback. The purpose of the questionnaire was to gauge priority concerns for our member organizations and use those to identify our legislative priorities in the upcoming 2018 regular session. Once we received the response questionnaires, our Board of Directors carefully reviewed each one and used parameters like achievability and organizational support to determine three priorities which will be our focus during the upcoming session.
In December, the following priorities were elected for focus of the WVEC:
1) defend air and water
2) rein in fossil fuels
3) promote renewables and energy efficiency
We think this democratic method of capacity building will help us win campaigns for environmental justice in West Virginia, but in order for us to maximize our impact during this session; we will need the support of our member organizations. We have a lobby team in place, we have volunteers to keep the office open, track bill status, and conduct outreach to organizations. We will have a weekly citizen lobby day at the capitol each Tuesday during the session, beginning on Tuesday January 16. I will be at the office each Tuesday or contact one of our staff lobbyists, Karan Ireland and Crystal Good (firstname.lastname@example.org), who are on hand throughout session to support, coach, and guide citizen lobbyists in their brave efforts to come to the Capitol with their individual stories to advocate for West Virginia and all of us who call this great state home.
We are calling on our member and supporting organizations to commit to sharing our action alerts within your listserv, hold a post-card writing party to write your representatives supporting our priorities, or even pick a Tuesday to coordinate bringing a group of citizen-lobbyists to Charleston. Please feel free to reach me at email@example.com if you have any questions about how you or your organization can become involved.