WV Citizen Action Group
Action Alert
December 23
 Alert Archive

Dear Friend of Citizen Action,

This year we celebrated our 40th year as WV Citizen Action Group. It was an extremely challenging year that started out with West Virginia American Water telling us we couldn’t use our tap water for anything but flushing and ending with the worst elections in living memory.

Your support made it possible for us to keep up with the challenges and come out stronger!

Click Here to Read December's Newsletter

The “water crisis” did make us stronger by uniting groups that hadn’t ever worked closely and bringing out newly minted activists such as our two new excellent staff members. Karan Ireland and Emmett Pepper literally came to us through our mutually successful organizing and legislative efforts to regulate the types of storage tanks that poisoned the Elk River. Flip this page for Karan’s personal story from the water crisis.

2015 Brings a new set of Challenges!

The upcoming WV Legislative session will be history making. The new House and Senate leadership has a conservative agenda that must be engaged head-on. We’re already meeting with the broad progressive coalition we helped get organized back in 2005 – W Virginians United for Social and Economic Justice. Together we will oppose rollbacks in programs helping kids & families, raising the minimum wage, Medicaid expansion (now providing over 150,000 in WV with healthcare) workplace safety and organizing, access to the civil justice system, and more while continuing to push for people-friendly policies at both the state and federal level.

Your active membership and support keeps us going, year after year!

We will continue being your voice here in the capital city for a more citizen & environmentally friendly government. Please take a minute now to renew your member contribution and, if you can, kick in a little extra this year to help give us the boost we’ll need for the upcoming fights!

Tax deductible donations can be made through our c-3 arm, but as always, the direct lobbying support to WV Citizen Action Group gives us the most leverage.

Thanks again for being an active, engaged citizen and for supporting your Citizen Action Group!


Gary Zuckett, Executive Director

Read About Our Latest Projects!

Karan's Story

Dear Friends,

Last winter, I was your average single mom- working by day as the new marketing director for a local law firm and by night as a chauffeur, cook, laundress, tutor, housekeeper, counselor… well, you get the picture. I was a relatively concerned person when it came to social issues and, with my children, volunteered in the community, through our church and at Manna Meal. I often spoke out against things that seemed wrong to me, like the unethical firing of Dr. Jorea Marple, and in support of issues close to my heart like, adequate funding for public libraries. But, I didn’t think of myself as an activist and certainly not as an environmental activist. At least, not until I was told not to drink my water.

January 9, 2014 was life-changing for me. I spent the day sick in bed, having become rapidly ill after a long, hot shower a day or so earlier. I was on the road to recovery- trying to choke down water to speed the process- when I saw neighbors posting on social media about a licorice odor in the air outside. Throughout the day, I watched as the Freedom leak and concurrent water crisis unfolded.

I spent the following days much the same way as everyone else: searching store aisles for bottled water, traveling outside the area to shower and do laundry, and waiting for answers from the water company and state and local officials. However, those answers- once they came- seemed inadequate and disingenuous. After a number of days, the overriding theme seemed to be, “Everything is fine.” And, that was not the experience I was having. My water did not seem fine. The lack of regulation around industry did not seem fine. West Virginia American Water’s woeful response to the leak did not seem fine. I looked around and thought, “this is bullsh*t.”

Pardon the language, but it was exactly that reaction that drove me to act. My close friend Jeni Burns and I scheduled a meeting to talk about what we could do to get real answers. We heard from people all over Charleston who wanted to attend our meeting- so many that we had to change the venue twice!

I tell you of this story to let you know how helpful it was to this new (and accidental) activist to have had the support of the staff at West Virginia Citizen Action. Norm Steenstra and Stacy Gloss were present at that first meeting that Jeni and I hosted, and they continued to reach out to us as we grew into our activism. CAG helped us in so many ways: inviting us to coalition-building meetings; offering us space for our own meetings; offering data entry and administrative support; and teaching us- and others- how to be citizen lobbyists. Julie and Gary were lifesavers as we learned to navigate the Capitol halls!

Since January, I’ve helped shepherd through a reasonably strong piece of legislation (SB 373); worked toward creating a safer water utility system here in the Kanawha Valley; and- dare I say it- found a true calling. West Virginia Citizen Action Group has helped make all of this possible for me. I’ve found a home here as a staffer and I’ve made good friends, as well.

So, thank you for all you do to make it possible for CAG to foster leadership in people like me! Your help makes a real difference in building power and getting things done!

With gratitude,

Karan Ireland

Click Here to Donate to WV-CAG!

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WV-CAG Membership/ WV-CAEF Support Form

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Please mail checks to:  WV-CAG or WV-CAEF, 1500 Dixie Street, Charleston, WV  25311

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