West Virginia: Reimagine Appalachia Sign On letter to Congress
Below is the sign on letter which would be sent to West Virginia Congressional Delegates. Contact Dana@ReImagineAppalachia.org with any questions regarding the letter or the sign on process.

To: Members of Congress, West Virginia Congressional Delegation

As conversations about federal infrastructure legislation advance, whether on one or two tracks, we want to highlight key priorities that must be part of legislation this year to ensure these investments benefit the Appalachian region, West Virginia communities and workers. Our region has long provided raw materials to fuel the prosperity of the nation while too many of our communities rank in the bottom 10 percent of the nation for high poverty and unemployment rates, and low incomes.

Federal climate infrastructure legislation presents an opportunity to bring much-needed federal resources into the region. Our state, like all of Appalachia, deserves a targeted share of these resources--one that properly reflects the contributions we made to the nation’s prosperity over the last century, and one that delivers economic opportunities for our families and communities.

West Virginia is ready for an Appalachian Climate Infrastructure Plan that creates good union jobs and builds local wealth while laying the foundation for a 21st century economy. An infrastructure plan must also recognize West Virginians already have many of the skills needed to do the work and an amazing system of union apprenticeship programs to train for the ones they don’t. To accomplish these ends, the infrastructure package(s) must include community and labor standards designed to maximize the benefits of these investments for workers and the health of our communities.

West Virginia can shift to clean energy and grow more jobs while ensuring no worker gets left behind. An investment of $5.3 billion per year –$3.2 billion in private investments – would create 41,100 jobs in West Virginia and bring our state’s unemployment down from 8% to just 3%.

The Mountain State must be a leader in the fight against the devastating impacts of climate change that threaten our state. These threats, including public health risks and increased flooding, disproportionately impact frontline communities and communities of color, which is why increased resources are needed to ensure those most at risk are not left behind.

As you consider the goals, legislative language, and appropriations of an infrastructure package, we urge you to focus on these priorities. An Appalachian Climate Infrastructure Plan could enable federal infrastructure legislation to kick start the creation of a “New Deal That Works for US” in West Virginia and across Appalachia. These investments are essential to the future economic, environmental and public health of our state. This year’s federal infrastructure legislation is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for you to restore hope and shared prosperity to the Mountain State. We are anxious to help you seize the opportunity.

Signed,

Reimagine Appalachia Partners in West Virginia

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