WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. – Those heading to the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s 78th Annual Meeting & Business Summit that begins Wednesday at The Greenbrier Resort will be presented with the state’s economic challenge.
Chamber President Steve Roberts said the challenge is a struggling coal industry, because of the current market and federal regulations, and a growing natural gas industry.
“We know we are going to be an energy producing state. We’re going to be a natural gas producing state and a coal producing state. It’s very important to figure out how to meet the challenges of the future,” Roberts said.
Representatives of dozens of different types of businesses will attend the summit. Roberts said the pre-meeting registration points toward the largest crowd in the summit’s history.
“Every year at this meeting some very positive things occur, some positive action items come out of the meeting. So we anticipate more and better this year,” Roberts said.
It’s an election year so the three-day schedule includes forums with candidates. Other scheduled speakers include; Randy Cleveland, president of XTO Energy, an ExxonMobile subsidiary; Political analyst Larry Sabato and Bret Baier of FOX News.
The opening session is scheduled for noon Wednesday.
Wednesday, August 27 (all times approximate)
· 12:00 p.m. Opening Session
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin
Randy Cleveland, president, XTO Energy, ExxonMobile Corp.
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin
· 3:15 The Election Panel (David Avella, GOPAC & Julie Roginsky, FOX News Contributor)
Thursday, August 28 (all times approximate)
· 8:30 a.m. Dr. Larry Sabato, noted political analyst, University of Virginia
· 9:30 U.S. House Third District Candidate Forum
State Senator Evan Jenkins
Congressman Nick Rahall (invited)
· 10:00 Keynote Address — Bret Baier, FOX News
· 11:00 U.S. Senate Candidate Forum
Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito
Secretary of State Natalie Tennant
Friday, August 29 (all times approximate)
· 8:30 a.m. Symposium – “Why West Virginia’s Future Depends on an A+ Education System”
Gayle Manchin, president, WV Board of Education
Michael Green, vice president, WV Board of Education
Lloyd Jackson, member, WV Board of Education
Dr. Michael Martirano, superintendent, WV Department of Education (as of September 15)
Dr. Jo Harris, president, BridgeValley Community Technical College
Jan Hanlon, secondary curriculum director, Logan County
· 9:30 U.S. House First & Second District Candidate Forum
Congressman David McKinley, First District
State Auditor Glen Gainer, First District
Alex Mooney, Second District
Nick Casey, Second District
· 10:45 WV Poll — Rex Repass, president, R.L. Repass & Partners