Delayed Policy Pitch Night Picks Idea Winner
On Wednesday, Sept. 2, five Columbus community members pitched their local policy ideas to three members of Columbus City Council for the city’s first-ever Policy Pitch Night, in partnership with Cincinnati-based community engagement and strategy company Cohear.
The event, which was originally to take place in late March but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, saw policies related to eviction, early childhood education, food insecurity and more.
Over 20 individuals from organizations like the YWCA, Columbus Urban League, Community Development 4 All People, and The Chamber of Commerce read through policy ideas and evaluated them on a scale of 1-10 for their potential impact, feasibility to implement and their “level of overall excitement.”
Wednesday’s Policy Pitch Night featured the five finalists from that scoring:
- Lauren Barnett, who pitched a policy that would provide tools to daycare centers to achieve certification and funding;
- Stu Nicholson, who pitched a policy to create a city-level department for mass transportation and mobility policy;
- Olabisi Eddy, who pitched a policy that would require landlord-tenant mediation before eviction proceedings when minors are present in the home;
- Rob Moore, who pitched a policy that would allocate $2 million in city funding to expand the SNAP-Ed program to address food insecurity;
- And Chaquerra Prunty, who pitched a policy that would permanently expunge the eviction record of residents who participate in financial literacy classes or other relevant workshops.
Councilmembers commented on what could be done about the various policies directly and what would be council versus policies that would involve additional bodies, including the mayor’s office and state-level legislators.
Only Columbus residents could vote on the best policy pitch. That honor went to Olabisi Eddy.
The goal of Policy Pitch Night was to choose one winning policy that is championed at City Hall by Council President Pro Tempore Elizabeth Brown, however councilmembers expressed interest in pushing most if not all of the pitches from the night in some way or fashion.
Councilmember Priscilla Tyson, who chairs the Health & Human Services committee, expressed interest in connecting Moore with the Local Food Advisory Board for Columbus and Franklin County. Councilmember Shayla Favor also expressed her thoughts on connecting Prunty with groups like the Columbus Women’s Commission, which does work surrounding women and housing.
“I know we had to pick a winner for winner’s sake, but in my opinion all five presentations and ideas, they were phenomenal,” said Favor. “I think there’s opportunity for engagement on all levels.”
View Wednesday’s policy presentations via Facebook.