CHARLESTON, W.Va. — House Speaker Tim Miley wants to put more of a focus on the successful business owners in the Mountain State as a way to encourage business growth.
“We don’t make enough of an effort to learn from those people who have found success,” said Miley. “All we want to do is point to the failures in our state and in our economy and prop that up as if it’s the norm.”
To change that mindset, Miley and other members of the House leadership announced Wednesday the formation of a work group as part of a business initiative to foster small business growth in the state.
“We plan to go around the state holding legislative panel discussions with successful small business people and learning from them about what made them successful,” Miley said.
House Minority Leader Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, released a statement following Miley’s announcement adding that the Republicans have been listening, for several years, to small business owners about the obstacles they face and he is glad to see Democrats wanting to do the same thing.
“We are confident that, if the Democrat leadership truly listens to those who are struggling each day to make their payroll, they will quickly learn of those very basic solutions that have worked successfully in neighboring states and across the country,” said Armstead in the release.
The plan is to fill the work group with lawmakers who are currently business owners or have been business owners in the past.
“Those are the people who are there day in and day out, where the rubber meets the road trying to determine how they can succeed, how they can employ their employees and make a better life for themselves and their employees,” he said.
The ultimate plan is to have the bipartisan work group become a permanent, standing committee when the legislative session begins next year. Miley wants the committee to consider legislation affecting small businesses and place more of a focus on the successful business stories in the state.
“You don’t model losers, you model winners,” he said. “And we want to model those people who have been successful out their in the community so that’s why we’re going to identify those success stories and we’re going to learn from them.”
Kanawha County Delegate Doug Skaff, owner and managing partner of Building & Remodeling Warehouse in Nitro, has been chosen to chair the committee. Delegate Bill Hartman, a retired insurance company owner from Randolph County, and Delegate Jason Barrett, owner of a restaurant in Berkeley County, will be Co-Vice Chairmen of the committee.
Speaker Miley intends to announce the other members of the group in the coming weeks so the committee can begin meeting in December.