Here at the Hub, we’re passionate about helping communities.
We’re passionate about helping communities realize the untapped assets they have in their towns. We’re passionate about helping motivate and guide communities to use their skills, resources and innovative ideas to turn their towns around. And we’re passionate about helping communities get involved at the state level to shape the policies that govern them.
We bring you the Legislative Hubbub each week because we know that in order for communities to impact policy, they have to know what is happening at the State Capitol and what new laws are being proposed that might impact them.
The Legislative Hubbub is one of the tools the Hub uses in our community-based policy program. We don’t work on policy the way that most groups do. We’re not community development lobbyists. We are capacity builders for community development policy advocates.
Who are those advocates? They are you, West Virginia’s citizens.
We also work with people to help them get in the room with their legislators to advocate for the changes they want to see. We want to see policies passed that promote community development in West Virginia. But more than that, we want to see policies passed that were identified by local communities and that local communities lobbied for on their own behalf.
What issues and policies do you care about? Let us know: here’s a quick survey.
A harder road, for real democracy
Just like our HubCAP, Turn This Town Around and other community development programs, we’re not here to do the work for you. We’re here to help you understand how the process works and give you the tools so that you can do it on your own.
Why do we do things this way? It would be easier for us to just figure out what policies we think would benefit communities and lobby for them ourselves, on behalf of communities. It’s a harder, longer road to stay with communities and to work with them to build the capacity to engage in the long, hard process of getting a good idea passed into law.
But we do it this way because we believe this is the way that democracy should work.
We know it doesn’t always work like that though. It often doesn’t work like that.
What happened to our political system?
There’s a lot of reasons why democracy in the 21st century is a little skewed.
Lawmaking is a complicated process – it often feels like walking through a labyrinth, with a lot of information, deadlines and procedures to sort through and follow. We try to help map out the labyrinth so that communities have a clearer understanding of how things work in the policy making process, and why they work the way that they do.
It also takes a huge amount of time and resources to engage in the policy making process, even when you do understand how it works.
Democracy depends on regular people engaging in the process, at every step of the way. But we all have jobs, families and a variety of other daily demands that make consistent, effective engagement difficult. That’s why lobbyists are so effective. They are paid to spend those 60 days working 24 hours a day on their bills. We can’t change that structure (at least yet) but we can provide you with tools, resources and support to start to bridge the demands of lawmaking with the capacity that you and your community members have to be engaged.
Lastly, sound decision-making depends on decision-makers having access to good information. Those decision-makers are legislators, and they are voters. You can’t know what to ask your legislators to do if you don’t have the best information about the issues you care about. That’s what our Legislative Hubbub is all about – information for you.
There is a lot of media that covers the legislative session. We think that many media outlets do an excellent job – we even wrote a whole article about some of the best resources out there.
But a lot of media focuses on the most controversial bills and the splashiest events – the confrontations, the public hearings. We want to make sure you know what is happening under the radar: the community development bills that aren’t getting the headlines, the good things that are passing with little fanfare. And we want to continue this conversation beyond the last day of the session.
We’re working to build a vibrant future for our state, one community at a time. We know that part of that vibrancy is informed, engaged citizens working on policy. We hope you’ll join us in these efforts.