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.

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  • Mark

    First rule of business should be tort reform, but the "Tiger" would never go for that.

    • liberty4all

      Can you be more specific in your ideas for reform? If any of your suggestions would infringe upon our 7th Amendment rights under the Constitution, than I would not support. I also would not support any notion that someone or some organization that harms another person should not be held responsible for fixing or repairing the full amount of harm done. Finally, would your "reform" include civil cases between two businesses? Statistics show that the vast majority of civil suits filed in our state (and the country) are between two businesses.

      Please share your specific ideas.

    • Benny

      Welcome WVCALA into the fray.

  • Tina B

    Focusing on success will bring more success to our state. I like this idea because it will give examples of what can happen in WV vs. what doesn't happen.

    Good job!

    • Coach

      Excellent idea Mr. Speaker and Chairman Skaff will do an outstanding job. He is a perfect choice to chair. West Virginians know what works best for West Virginia and it is good to know that are legislators are listening. I also love the fact that Republican Delegate Bob Ashley is in the picture. We need to work together more and rid ourselves of all of the divisiveness. This is WV not Wash DC. Kudos, Mr. Speaker!

  • Shadow

    And this from a man that advertises himself as a Tiger using the Tort system against business. This is eyewash coupled with lip service.

    • Stephen

      You sound so 'catty'!

  • Joe

    Wrong approach. You do notbuild a true growth ecnomy with insurance shops and restaurants when no one can find work. You need investment by heavy-mfg industries.

    You all seem to skirt the ne issue that will bring significant investment....right-to-work legislation.

    This tour is a waste of time and taxpayer money.

    • Stephen

      Also, heavy-mfg industries are NOT small business. The cracker plant in Wood would not be a part of this equation.

    • wvu999

      Right to work is the answer? So you want businessmen to make a ton of dough and the workers to make minimum wage with good benefits... Great idea that will definitely boost the economy.

      That God WV isn't a right to work FOR LESS state.

      • Joe

        That's not true. I suggest you review the pay and benefits paid to mfg workers in Texas, SC and Alabama.

        What we don't need injected into this is chip on the shoulder class envy arguments.

        • wvu999

          I just don't understand how you think playing workers less with worse benefits is going to be the solution. Seems silly

          • Joe

            My company has twofg facilities in TX and I have not seen what you are talking about. All hired are legal employees with extremely good pay and fair benefits.

            I cannot speak to other industries like farming or contracting, but where are you two arriving at your conclusion?!

        • Stephen

          Texas gets by on the backs of an illegal workforce that works under the table. You would have to add that to the workforce in WV to make things happen like they do in Texas.

      • wvu999

        My reply should have said without good benefits.