WEST VIRGINIA COMMUNICATIONS TRAINING
November 19-21, 2019
Thanks to the generosity of the Plougshares Fund Women's Initiative WiLL conducted a successful pilot program,“Engaging Rural America on Defense Spending Through Legislators and Trust Partners,” with women legislators, candidates, and community members in Charleston, West Virginia.
The two-day training at the West Virginia statehouse focused on messaging and education on defense spending and the U.S. nuclear arsenal. A listening session with West Virginia community members on nuclear weapons and defense policy kicked off the training. After collecting constituents' feedback, participants worked with trainers and WAND staff to hone their skills through sessions on strategic communications, federal policy, storytelling, crafting talking points, writing and pitching op-eds, and engaging grassroots.
West Virginia is currently ranked 40th in representation of women serving in the state legislature. Only 18 out of 134, or 13.4%, of legislators are women. One of the aims of WiLL is to develop women's political leadership, to this end we included candidates currently running for the state legislature in the training. One candidate who participated wrote:"Thank you for helping me, a concerned citizen and candidate for office, to understand how I can effectively advocacy for transparency in defense spending. I feel much more aware and empowered!"