It may be cliché, but it's true: young people are the future of West Virginia. That’s why it’s so important that they be included in conversations about the economic future of our state. And so we were excited to see so many high schoolers turn out for a recent forum at Huntington High School hosted by “What’s Next, Huntington?”, where participants discussed and prioritized the areas where they think work is needed to improve their local economy.

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One of those students was Franklin Norton, who checked in with What’s Next, WV? after the forum to give his first reactions…

I think action is going to be made. I can see it. I can feel it. It’s not just talk. So that’s exciting and inspirational.

…Share his vision for the future of his city…(which, by the way, reminds us of the results of this informal poll by the WV Community Development Hub, which found education ranked as a top issue for West Virginians)

I really want Huntington to be seen as a unique, quirky college town where we have small businesses everywhere, vibrant small business—eccentric, almost. Something fascinating and dazzling that will draw people here.

…And for the future of our state…

Coal is important, it’s vital. But there’s also so much more that we can offer the United States.

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Congrats to Franklin and all his Huntington High School classmates who came out for this great event. You made a difference. Your voices were heard.

See More Photos of the Event || Read Full Video Transcript 

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