May 23, 2017

Policy & Economic Development Blog 1: Building Political Capital.

All Aboard the Policy Train!: Building Political Capital in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia

As the single most active Working Group in 2017, the Policy & Economic Development Working Group is on fire! Their first meeting was held on March 16, 2017, which ended up being an educational presentation for one very eager to learn AppFellow, and a brief discussion on where the year may take us. The group was very engaged and willing to share their knowledge. After sharing the thrilling experience with my mentor, Kathlyn Terry, something ended up falling right smack dab into our laps. In fact, it almost knocked us out with obviousness. The Central Appalachian Network(CAN) had a small grant opportunity available for projects that support community engagement or advocacy efforts around a policy or other issue. Is that utter perfection or what?!

After presenting the opportunity to the Working Group and receiving almost unanimous positive response, Kathlyn and I began preparing the grant for submission. After a few discussions, we had the plan for the project laid out. It’s titled “Building Political Capital in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.” The Policy and Economic Development Working Group would act as the planning committee for a day long, Policy 101 Workshop available to the region. The goal of the workshop would be to develop a more “policy wise” region that is comfortable and confident when presenting issues to their elected officials. During the workshop, the participants would learn local, state, and federal policy, the difference between “Big P Policy” and “Little p policy”, and when/if the issues at hand require legislator involvement. Following the workshop, we would hold a series of 3 roundtable flash talk and small group luncheons: 1 on local policy, the second on State policy, and a third on Federal policy. Our hope would be to have elected officials from Virginia and Tennessee attend the luncheons, giving the participants a chance to speak with them on a personal, yet professional level. How exciting is that?!

A few short weeks later, we received word that we would, in fact, receive funding for the project and be able to make this big idea a big, fat
reality! BOOYAH!

On April 26, 2017, the group met again. The amazing news was presented and with tons of energy around the subject, we began developing next steps to get the ball rolling as soon as possible. Our next meeting is scheduled for July 13, 2017. It has been deemed the “Planning Meeting” and we are eager to bring some Virginia and Tennessee representatives to the table to aid in the formation of this project.

Stay tuned for further development in this project!

By Jenni Roop