CHARLESTON – The newly formed House of Delegates work group intended to foster small business growth and encourage entrepreneurship will hold a preliminary meeting this evening in Charleston to hear from various organizations that offer resources for small businesses.
“As legislators gather in Charleston for our monthly interim meetings, we are going to take the opportunity to meet and get a feel for what resources are available to small business owners and potential entrepreneurs,” said Delegate Doug Skaff, Chairman of the new Small Business, Entrepreneurship & Economic Development Work Group.
“In addition to grant opportunities, we want to know what kinds of business and legal services are provided and what kind of small businesses can benefit from them.”
House Speaker Tim Miley recently announced the formation of the bipartisan work group, which will be holding discussion forums in different regions of the state through the end of 2014.
Once the 2014 regular session begins, Speaker Miley intends to make the group a permanent standing committee to consider legislation affecting small businesses.
“I firmly believe in and have a passion for small-business growth in West Virginia,” the Speaker said. “But we can’t just talk among ourselves about the need to encourage these businesses – we should facilitate a meaningful discussion to find out what the Legislature can do to help small businesses be successful.
“This group will travel the state, holding legislative panel discussions with successful small business people and learning from them about what made them successful.”
Speaker Miley, who will be an ex officio, non-voting member of the work group, sought out House members who have experience running a small business.
Chairman Skaff is owner and managing partner of Building & Remodeling Warehouse in Nitro. Delegate Bill Hartman, a retired insurance agency owner from Randolph County, and Delegate Jason Barrett, owner of a restaurant in Berkeley County, are Co-Vice Chairmen.
The backgrounds of the 25 delegates appointed to the work group touch on a wide variety of vocations, such as engineering, construction, farming, and legal and financial services.
“These are the people who are out there, day in and day out, working to make their businesses succeed and maintain a payroll,” Miley said. “That’s where the rubber meets the road.”
The following delegates have been appointed to the work group:
Barbara Fleischauer, D-Monongalia; Tim Manchin, D-Marion; Mike Manypenny, D-Taylor; Jim Morgan, D-Cabell; Linda Phillips, D-Wyoming; John Pino, D-Fayette; Doug Reynolds, D-Cabell; Stephen Skinner, D-Jefferson; Isaac Sponaugle, D-Pendleton: attorney; Harry Keith White, D-Mingo; Larry Williams, D-Preston; Bob Ashley, R-Roane; Tom Azinger, R-Wood; Daryl Cowles, R-Morgan; Allen Evans, R-Grant; Marty Gearhart, R-Mercer; Bill Hamilton, R-Upshur; Eric Householder, R-Berkeley; Carol Miller, R-Cabell; Eric Nelson, R-Kanawha; Erikka Storch, R-Ohio; and Ron Walters, R-Kanawha.
“As legislators we are asked to come together to create and improve legislation to make West Virginia a better place to live, work and raise a family. We have a lot of successful people here who choose to do all three and have invested and started successful businesses in West Virginia,” Chairman Skaff said. “As we move forward, I intend to get a great deal of input from these work group members about who we should hear from when we travel to his or her region of the state.
“I want their perspectives both as business owners and as delegates who understand what makes their home turf unique.”
The Small Business, Entrepreneurship & Economic Development Work Group will meet from 6 pm to 7 pm today in the House Government Organization Committee Room, 215-E, for presentations from the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics, WVU School of Law, West Virginia Small Business Development Center, TechConnect and the Charleston Area Alliance.
Audio of the meeting will be streamed live at http://www.legis.state.wv.us/live.cfm.