An Ohio Valley organization made up of young professionals got an inside look at how our local leaders make decisions that affect all of our lives.
Although they looked back at this legislative session in West Virginia, they also looked ahead to see how the state can solve some of our biggest problems including the drug epidemic.
OVConnect is an organization that works for young professionals and comes up with ideas to help move the valley forward.
On Friday, our local lawmakers were questioned to see how they are working to do just that at our state Capital.
Dozens of young minds listened intently as Senator Jeff Kessler, Delegate Shawn Fluharty, and Delegate Erikka Storch went through this years legislative session to find out ways they could get more involved in the efforts.
Of the 800 bills purposed only 261 were approved.
Some that didn’t make the cut, our local lawmakers are passionate about.
“I went into the session hoping that we would address the issues of roads, workforce participation, and substance abuse and at the end of the day I think those were the 3 main issues that going into the session is still left undressed after the session, Kessler says.”
Delegate Storch agreed.
“I’m not entirely sure that Charleston got the message of the impact that we are seeing up here with our roads and some of the other things that need to be addressed in the Northern Panhandle, she said.”
Senator Kessler says it’s all about money.He believes there needs to be political courage to raise some revenue and money for treatment centers to get the help needed for people addicted to heroin or prescription drugs.
Although these lawmakers didn’t feel this years session was a total success they aren’t giving up and neither is the community.
“I think the delegates answered very honestly even when it wasn’t a popular opinion, Wheeling resident Susan Hagan says. “It touched on just about every subject that I was really interested in moving back here and learning about all of the different things that have been going on since I’ve been gone.”
So what’s next?
“Trying to help people understand the laws that are either just starting to take place or that will go into affect in July, Storch says. “There’s a lot of getting ready for next session so that your bills are prepared and ready.”