CHARLESTON—This year, women legislators under the Capitol dome are taking a new approach to camaraderie with the formation of a Women’s Legislative Caucus.
"West Virginians want their legislators to work together. As spring approaches, with the hope that it brings, I am excited that we are launching a new bipartisan caucus of women legislators that includes members from both the House and the Senate,” said the Senate Co-Chair, Senator Patricia Rucker (R-Jefferson).
The caucus is designed to be a bipartisan, bicameral group working to improve the participation of women in the legislature, provide a network of support for one another, and champion policies that support women. Their meetings, in addition to providing mutual support and networking opportunities for women legislators, will also provide an opportunity for the legislators to hear from their female constituents, who make up half the state. This session, they have chosen to hear from women businesses.
"Since there are so few women in the WV Legislature (18 out of 134,) it is important for us to work together when we can. I think supporting women in business, especially during this difficult pandemic, is something we can all agree upon,” said the House of Delegates Co-Chair, Delegate Barbara Fleischauer (D-Monongalia).
On Friday, February 18, the Women’s Legislative Caucus will welcome Jocelyn Sheppard, founder and owner of Appalachian Botanical Co (ABCo). ABCo grows lavender and raises bees on reclaimed mine land in Boone County. Harvesting and processing the lavender and honey to make custom-formulated, organic aromatherapy, body care, culinary and home goods products. The company has customers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and its products are carries by 45+ retailers. ABCo is committed to providing second-chance employment to individuals who for various reasons—e.g., criminal records, lack of high school diploma, substance use problems—often struggle to find jobs.
“In addition to experiencing the usual small business growing pains, Appalachian Botanical Co. launched sales in fall 2020--in the heart of a pandemic that's still with us. We're grateful for the customers and retailers who've helped us grow,” said Sheppard. “We also appreciate the help and support we've received from local small businesses, as well as from state government agencies. While there's never a single ‘perfect’ time to launch a small business, it's always the right time to seek out the people and organizations who can help you overcome the expected--and the unexpected--challenges of starting a new business.”
Media is invited to join the Women’s Legislative Caucus for their meeting on Friday, February 18 at 12:00 PM in the Governor’s Cabinet and Conference Room of the State Capitol.