Five Questions with LiveWell Colorado Director of Policy Terri Livermore

In order to advance our mission of increasing access to healthy food and physical activity, LiveWell plays an active role in our state’s political process. This is especially true in the winter and early spring when Colorado’s legislature is in full swing. Terri Livermore, LiveWell’s Director of Policy, has spent her career in the policy arena. Before joining LiveWell’s team, Terri advocated for affordable housing, at-risk children, and crime victims’ rights at the state capitol. We sat down with Terri to hear about her vision for healthy eating and active living policy in the state and her passion for policy work.

1) Lots of people are intimidated by the word, “policy.” How do you explain what you do to people who aren’t familiar with that work?

There’s obvious policy that people see all the time- state laws, city laws, regulations –but there are also policies within organizations and between different organizations that dictate how those organizations function and how they interact with each other. There are many ways that we can create policy changes, convincing people to do things differently, even without realizing we are doing policy work.

Even what people think of as policy work—changing laws and working in the political system—shouldn’t be intimidating. Once people learn the process and the way the system works, it becomes a lot less intimidating. I see my role at LiveWell Colorado as helping people to understand that system so they can use their voices to do this work.

2) How did you get into policy? What makes this work worthwhile?

Like how most people get their first jobs, I knew someone who knew someone. My mother, in this case, knew someone who ran a contract lobbying firm. My first year out of college, I interviewed and got an entry-level job. I left after a year and did some traveling, tried a few different jobs, and eventually came back to that same lobbying firm and gave it another shot.

What makes this worthwhile is that I get an opportunity to affect change on a number of social issues that I deeply care about—issues that are very important to me. But more than that, I also enjoy helping other people understand the system and helping them affect change on the issues they care about.

3) What do you want LiveWell to accomplish in 2017 in policy?

I want us to be able to work with our partners to develop a comprehensive policy plan for LiveWell’s future. Specific to 2017, I’d like to get our bill passed that would expand the capacity of the Colorado Food Systems Advisory Council (COFSAC). I’d also like to see a funding solution for transportation that includes funding for walking and biking infrastructure.

4) Why do you think the COFSAC bill is important for Coloradans?

I think it’s important because it creates capacity for a cross-sector analysis of our entire food system. You are working with this massive system and figuring out where the problems are, and I think this bill actually creates a greater opportunity to act and address those problems.

5) What do you enjoy doing out of the office?

I enjoy cycling and hanging out with family and friends. I also enjoy reading, especially action novels, history, and military history.