House Speaker Tim Miley and his leadership team are forming a Small Business, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Development work group with the intent of it becoming a standing committee focusing on those issues when the regular legislative session begins Jan. 8. The work group will travel the state beginning in December through the end of the year to hold panel discussions in different regions regarding how to stimulate small business growth and encourage entrepreneurship.
"We will work collaboratively with people at the local level to hear from as many small business owners and entrepreneurs as possible," Miley said. "We want to know what hurdles they may have faced on their way to success and what hurdles they might still face today. As as legislative body, we want to remove as many hurdles as we can to allow small business to flourish. This tour will also be a great opportunity to showcase these successful individuals as inspirations to others in their communities with similar ambitions."
The biparisan work group will be made up of members that currently run a successful small business or have run one successfully in the past. Kanawha Delegate Doug Skaff, owner and managing partner of Building & Remodeling Warehouse in Nitro, will chair the committee. Delegate Bill Hartman, a retired insurance company owner from Randolph County and Delegate Jason Barrett, the 31-year-old owner of a restaurant in Berkeley County, will be Co-Vice Chairmen of the committee. House Majority Leader Harry Keith White, Bank of Mingo board chairman, will also serve on the committee.
Speaker Miley, who will be an ex officio, non-voting member of the committee, said he has talked to dozens of House members who are also small business owners about this undertaking and there is a great deal of bipartisan interest in serving on the committee. He intends to announce the full membership in the next two weeks, so the committee can begin meeting and touring the state in December.