What's Ahead in the State Budget? with Hope Lane-Gavin

February 14, 2023 00:18:25
What's Ahead in the State Budget? with Hope Lane-Gavin
Just a Bite
What's Ahead in the State Budget? with Hope Lane-Gavin

Feb 14 2023 | 00:18:25

/

Show Notes

Hope Lane-Gavin, our new Director of Nutrition Policy & Programs, joins Just a Bite to talk a little bit about herself and her perspective as a former Statehouse staffer and current advocate. With Governor DeWine releasing his budget proposal, Hope also talked about what she was encouraged to see within his proposal and what she thinks the Ohio General Assembly should debate during the state budget process. She leaves us with some advice and encouragement as advocates embark on this 6-month process! 

References:   

Find Hope on Twitter @HopeFromOhio and on our website 

Learn more about the Ohio Association of Foodbanks’ funding request. 

Find your local foodbank to find help, volunteer, and donate here.     

Enjoyed this episode?Pleaseleave a review and subscribeto get episodes in your podcast feed as soon as we upload every other week!      

Want more updates?Follow us onFacebook,TwitterandLinkedInand takeour latesthunger-fighting actions!     

Ohio Association of Foodbanks is aregistered 501c3nonprofitorganizationwithout party affiliationorbias.We are Ohio’s largest charitable response to hunger and our mission is to assist Ohio’s 12 Feeding America foodbanks in providing food and other resources to people in need and to pursueareas of common interest for the benefit of people in need.

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

Speaker 1 00:00:16 Welcome back to Just a Bite. This week I speak with our new colleague, hope Lane, Gavin, who is the Ohio Association of Food Bank's, new Director of nutrition policy and programs. I have her reintroduce herself to the podcast. And then we talk in depth about the state budget process, governor Devine's budget proposal that he recently introduced, and what we were really encouraged to see and what we would like to see considered throughout the process. Take a listen. Hi, hope. Welcome back to the podcast. Um, I'm thrilled that we are able to sit down today and talk a little bit. So you have been on the podcast before in the past. Um, but we wanted to bring you back on because you have recently joined the Ohio Association of Food Banks as our Director of Nutrition Policy and programs. And I know this won't be the last time when you're on the podcast <laugh>, but could you reintroduce yourself and give some background on how you got involved in nutrition policy and policy implementation? Speaker 2 00:01:40 Yeah, absolutely. I guess it's fair to say a few things have changed since I last visited Just a bite <laugh>, um, such as the fact that I'm now your colleague. Yeah. Um, I'm brand new here at the Ohio Association of Food Banks, and now serving as the Director of Nutrition Policy and programs, as you said, uh, where I will continue advocating for and researching policies to improve and expand access to programming, uh, that will reduce food insecurity in our state. Uh, this includes over at the State House in the White House and in, in and for our local communities. Um, I think I said this last time, but it is cer certainly worth noting again. Um, my friend and mentor, Rachel Cahill, is truly to blame or to thank, depending on the day and who you ask, uh, for bringing me into this space. Um, I figured out in high school af actually after, um, reading a very conservative book that I wanted to work in politics or government, or government adjacent, um, because politics influences and in many ways produces our government. Speaker 2 00:02:30 Um, and, uh, government, for lack of better words, is responsible for making life better for the people in our community. So, um, that's what what I would always wanted to do is to make life better for the people in, uh, my community. And then this case, my state. Um, just a little bit more about me, um, prior to the role, I was at the Cleveland based, um, thing, tank called the Center for Community Solutions, uh, where I served as the health equity fellow for three and a half years. And prior to that role, I worked in our legislature as an aid to now Hamilton County Auditor, Bridget Kelly. And prior to that, I, I worked on campaigns. So I currently live, uh, right outside of Columbus in Grove City with my husband, my stepson, and my dog, Ella Barker. You'll hear me talk a lot about her a lot. Um, and when I'm not working, I love to explore our beautiful metro parks in central Ohio and watch a lot of TV and read a lot of books. <laugh>. Speaker 1 00:03:15 That's perfect. I love that. Same here. Um, so during your time in the State House and as an advocate afterwards, you've gone through a few state budgets, a few, um, and you have a really great perspective and understand both sides of that process. So how was the state budget process different during your time as a staffer in the State House compared to how you currently interact with the process as an advocate? Speaker 2 00:03:40 Yeah. So I should begin by saying my member, um, well, Hamilton County auditor Bridget Kelly was on house finance and in my eyes, uh, one of the most intense subcommittees, which is the House Finance Subcommittee on, uh, health and Human Services mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, and so as a legislative staffer, uh, we had to field lots of requests from advocates and lobbyists to get, um, my member to support and or introduce an amendment. Um, this usually consisted of scheduling meetings and taking those meetings because as is well known, a lot of committees are scheduled at the same time, and the timing of the release for the committee schedule doesn't allow for an ease of scheduling other meetings. So it's well known in the budget process that more, the more a members you can get to support your amendment, the better, regardless of which side of the aisle said members are on, it's really a numbers game at the end of the day, and everyone is just trying to win. Speaker 2 00:04:24 Um, on the other hand, as an advocate and a lobbyist, we are the ones trying to get these meetings with members, make our case as tight and as concise as we can and have influence. We are also trying to train as many people as we can to help carry our message to, um, in our case, this means getting with our food banks, which are across the state as well as other, uh, nutrition and food access folks, and giving them the tools that they need to be successful when they're trying to meet with members who represent them in the State House. Um, we also do a lot of like media campaigning. Not always a hard and fast rule, but I think generally it's agreed upon that making noise to get attention can work. This doesn't mean blasting or costing members or the, the members of the legislature in the media. It's more like intentional earned media with like, uh, LTEs and letters, uh, you know, um, to the editor, um, op-eds and things like that. Speaker 1 00:05:10 That is, um, two sides of the same coin, I feel like. Um, and it's cool to see your perspective there. Um, governor DeWine just kicked off the state budget process a couple weeks ago with introducing his budget recommendations and priorities, um, for the bi next Bium. The Ohio House Finance Committee, as you spoke about, is ramping up committee hearings to begin their work on crafting legislation. And then the Ohio House will eventually vote on a, on the large budget bill and send it over to the Ohio Senate to make any changes they would like to make. All of this will happen by June 30th, which is, um, a quick turnaround, um, where the governor will have to sign the, the budget into law before the start of the fiscal year on July one. Um, that is a huge process. Um, and I was just wondering, since you've had some time to digest the governor's budget, what are some provisions you were happy to see included? Speaker 2 00:06:13 Yeah, absolutely, Sarah. So time to digest is like certainly, um, a very specific use of words considering those 630 pages <laugh>. Um, but honestly, no, I'm very surprised, pleasantly surprised. I should add, um, on the emphasis on health and human services and the social determinants of health. So, um, this is seen throughout the budget throughout the agencies, um, more money for Adult protective services. Um, we are an aging state and advocates have been eyeing steady increases for years. Um, they're very necessary, very needed. I'm happy to see this continue to be prioritized. Um, more money for the commission on Minority Health for infant mortality reductions, specific call out for doula services. I think the last time I was here, I talked in depth about how crucial, um, doula services is for black and women and families in our state. Um, and I of course deeply, deeply appreciate, uh, the proposal for increased childcare eligibility, um, the increased Medicaid eligibility for pregnant women and children. Speaker 1 00:07:09 Awesome. All great things. Um, what are some provisions included in the governor's recommendations that you would like to see changed during the process? Or what do you think the legislature should reconsider as they start to craft that budget? Speaker 2 00:07:23 Yeah, absolutely. I think, and we've spent a lot of time on this podcast kind of, you know, touching on this, but, um, I don't think the budget adequately addressed the public health emergency unwind mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, we know that, um, in our space, folks have been getting receiving SNAP emergency allotments, um, for three years now. And so you're asking families, um, to go or individuals, um, to go from receiving a lot <laugh> to a little overnight with no step down. And so, um, we are connected to, um, our colleagues in other states, as you know, and, um, seen their, their governors and their states kind of acknowledged the public health emergency unwind that you can't just like rip, you know, coverage or rip uh, you know, hundreds and hundreds of dollars of food stamps away from people. And so we've seen, like in Massachusetts, they have a, um, a state funded benefit to kind of, again, kind of step down on them, a snap emergency allotments. Speaker 2 00:08:15 Um, you've seen this proposal also in dc. Um, and so we've seen governments, estate governments specifically get really creative with how they, um, kind of acknowledge this public health emergency unwind. Um, because it's not, it's not truly a debate about, you know, whether or not these people should have gotten it to begin with. It's not, it's not, we're not, we're over that, you know, it's about what is right and what is wrong, um, when it comes to just ripping, you know, services and money away from people overnight. And so I would've liked to see, um, the food banks not be flat funded <laugh>. Um, so we will be fighting for that. And, you know, um, Lisa will fight like hell <laugh> to, to, to see, um, if we can get an increase in food bank funding. Um, local governments need more money, um, to address the public health emergency unwind. Speaker 2 00:08:59 Um, and we need new WIC outreach programming and funding to modernize the program. Our WIC enrollment in our state, um, is suffering. And I think that's what I talked about last time, and it still is mm-hmm. <affirmative> and, um, it's a great program. But, um, historically we haven't seen a lot of outreach, um, a lot of efforts to, um, increase enrollment. Um, and so, um, I think in the budget it was acknowledged from odh would, um, reduce, help reduce food insecurity by 2025, um, acknowledged wic, but didn't say anything like, this is what we're gonna do to increase WIC enrollment. This is how we're gonna change things, we're gonna, you know, and so there's a lot that can be changed with our WIC programming, um, such as taking the program online, um, and allowing participants to be able to access their, uh, their benefits remotely, <laugh> mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, so I did not see a lot of love, like I said, for the public health emergency unwind. And, um, that's a little scary. Speaker 1 00:09:51 Yeah, absolutely. And I've talked, um, with Zach on this podcast and jori about like all these things sort of happening at one time, um, to this usually the same families. Yeah. Um, and Ohioans. And so there's gonna be a lot of different changes happening to SNAP benefits as well as Medicaid and all happening kind of at the same time. Speaker 2 00:10:16 And it's, it's so hard, and you know, this Sarah, it's so hard to even communicate, um mm-hmm. <affirmative> as advocates with these families because there's so much, I don't wanna say conflicting information, but it's just like a lot to, like, it's hard for me to keep the dates and the times and what, like, you know, Medicaid's ending in April 1st and then the last month from SAP emergency allotments is February. So it's like, you know, and these are a lot of the same families, and it's just like, it's really tough, um, to even communicate and it just kind of like breaks my heart. Um, yeah. And we, I think we need a, a better plan <laugh> mm-hmm. <affirmative> from the state, and I think the budget is an opportunity to do that. We know that we're working with, um, a very large surplus we're, we know we're working with a big rainy day fund, and we know we have a lot of, you know, tanif, um, pass through dollars that have not been utilized to the fullest extent. We have a big tanif underspend. And so I think that there's lots of opportunities to, to kind of address this unwind, um mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but I did not see those in the budget. Speaker 1 00:11:11 Yeah. It's unfortunate. Um, and to your point about WIC too, you know, that was such a clear, um, situation, um, and a clear solution when we saw the infant formula shortage. Yeah. Um, and all of the scrambling, right. Rightfully so. And, um, anxiety around that issue, um, for Ohio families. Um, and so hopefully we can maybe have a conversation about, um, bringing WIC online at the very Speaker 2 00:11:41 Least. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, and we've been doing a lot of, you know, advocacy with the, with the state agency, but, um, hoping we can make this happen sooner rather than later because, um, there are a lot of families being left behind on like procedural technology things that could be, um, remediated, um, you know, with a, I don't wanna say a simple tech contract, but like <laugh> for better words, a simple tech contract could bring many, many, many families and keep them on the program through age five when their, uh, young child is eligible. Um, and really do wonders for honestly, infant mortality reduction, um, but just food in, you know, food security in our state. So there's a lot of layers. And I also look at WIC as like helping in a sense of, um, the ending of SNAP emergency allotments, um, and PB and our P B T program actually doing the same thing. But, um, you know, WIC could kind of serve as a, a supplement to some of that loss, um, if, if, you know, there's successful outreach and access to the program. Speaker 1 00:12:35 Absolutely. Well, that's great. Thank you for, um, talking to me a little bit about that. Um, and I know you gave our listeners sort of a rallying cry almost <laugh> during your last time on the podcast. So could you give us some words of encouragement as we work to ensure that all Ohioans have the financial security and nourishment they need to thrive as we, uh, embark on six months of budget process work, <laugh>? Speaker 2 00:13:05 Yeah, I, I think it can be really easy to do so, especially, um, with, you know, all of the just drama, um, political drama in the media, both here in Columbus and in, um, Washington, but don't get defeated. I know it can be really easy. You're trying to figure out like, you know, is my member a part of, you know, who my member voted for for speaker? Or like, you know, what's going on in the, you know, there's a lot of noise to cut through, but don't get defeated. You know, believe in yourself, believe in your issue, identify a champion for your issue and equip them with everything they need to be successful. Um, you don't have to be a political guru to be an advocate. You don't have to be a political guru to participate in the process. And it's a really, really, really important process to stay budget, um, especially in Ohio where, um, it's incredibly policy heavy. Speaker 2 00:13:49 Um, and so it's an opportunity to get, you know, just a, a simple quote unquote simple policy, um, in the budget, um, without having to go through like a very long and drawn out committee process. So I say all that to say, don't get defeated. You don't have to be, um, you know, a state government guru. You don't have to be a political guru. You don't have to understand all of, you don't, don't waste your time with all of the like, mapping of, you know, who voted for who and where, and what, and why. Just like, stick to your issue, believe in your issue, and people and members can see that, um, you know, identify a champion for your issue. Um, you know, and there's a lot of trainings and, and, you know, webinars around, you know, how to, how to testify, how to, um, advocate in the budget, budget training, academies, things like that. Different variations offered by different organizations. And I would recommend people, if you are not well versed on, on how this all works, I would recommend just like a brief one-on-one. But, um, you honestly don't even need that if you're just trying to, um, you know, just believe in your issue, believe in yourself. And, um, it, it's, it's hard, but it's not impossible. Mm-hmm. Speaker 1 00:14:52 <affirmative>, well, thank you so much. Um, could you please share how our listeners can learn more about you and your work? Speaker 2 00:14:59 Yeah, so I'm a big tweeter Twitter, <laugh>, tweeter. I'm a big tweeter. Yeah. So my Twitter handle is hope from Ohio. Um, I also love to talk so Sarah can testify to that, so you can email me, which my email is on our website. Um, we have a newsletter, please subscribe. Um, figuring out what we're up to. But, um, we're very active on all of the social medias and my own social media as well. Um, I talk a lot about my dog, so be prepared for that. Um, and my Costco journey, <laugh>. But, um, yeah, definitely Twitter, LinkedIn, um, all of those fun, you know, 21st century things. But, um, yeah, I think that's it. Speaker 1 00:15:38 Awesome. Thanks so much. Speaker 2 00:15:40 Hope. Thank you. Speaker 0 00:15:48 I Speaker 1 00:15:49 Hope you enjoyed my conversation with Hope and get used to having her on the podcast. She will be a really great addition to, um, not only our work at the association, but also will be able to provide a lot of expertise to our podcast listeners. Um, I wanted to touch a little bit deeper on, um, the Ohio Association of Food Banks and our 12 member food banks statewide budget requests that Hope and I had mentioned during the interview. And I just wanted to say that the Ohio Food banks are so grateful for the support that we have received over the past three years that has allowed us to really keep our doors open and continue to feed our communities and help them weather global and personal financial crises. Ohio communities are counting on the statewide Hunger Relief Network to fill the gaps like they've always done. Speaker 1 00:16:55 As pandemic economic supports expire, and a likely recession is on the horizon. In order to do so, Ohio Food Banks will need support throughout the upcoming biennium. Ohio's statewide Hunger Relief Network is respectfully requesting 50 million a year over the 2024 and 2025 by anym. This funding would be used to support Ohio farmers and producers and would allow our food bank network to procure center of the plate shelf stable foods and direct surplus and unmarketable Ohio Grown agricultural products. This funding will build on our decades long public-private partnership with the state of Ohio, Ohio farmers, growers and producers and hunger relief providers throughout all of Ohio's 88 counties. Um, if you would like to learn more about this funding request and how you can help, please visit our website. It'll be linked in the show notes. With that, we will talk to you next time. Thanks for listening.

Other Episodes

Episode

July 26, 2022 00:42:20
Episode Cover

A Dose of Inspiration from Two Foodbank Advocates

Your Just a Bite host, Sarah, is joined by Kimmy LoVano, Director of Advocacy & Public Education at the Greater Cleveland Foodbank, and Tim...

Listen

Episode

March 21, 2023 00:18:04
Episode Cover

Hunger Free Schools in Ohio are Within Reach

Katherine Ungar, Senior Policy Associate at Children’s Defense Fund Ohio, joins the podcast to talk about the Hunger Free Schools Ohio coalition. Sarah and...

Listen

Episode

December 16, 2022 00:31:01
Episode Cover

Ohio CAN: Community + Agriculture + Nutrition

What can bring the USDA, the Ohio Departments of Agriculture, Job and Family Services, and Education, Ohio foodbanks, and 50+ local farmers, growers, producers,...

Listen