This paper examines efforts by parents, grassroots activists and state-wide organizations to reconfigure the Kentucky Transitional Assistance Program through a multi-scale analysis of policy and agency. I begin by examining how myths about welfare, work and responsibility are currently inscribed into policy (Thomas, 1997). Here, I look at two basic trends in federal and state welfare policies-an emphasis on work as the solution to poverty and a reliance on "local solutions" in order to move recipients from "welfare to work." I then examine how these trends have been implemented at the state level within the Kentucky Transitional Assistance Program or K-TAP. It is at the level of the state where contradictions often emerge between federal rhetoric and local economic and social realities. Finally, I describe the process by which federal welfare rhetoric and state policies are contested by groups in Appalachian Kentucky through the strategic use of media, organizing and the creation of legislation. Using these examples, I explore the ways in which local experience can be used to challenge the welfare myths and how organizations are creating spaces at the local and state levels to assert their own visions of welfare.