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Newest WV House of Delegates group to meet

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West Virginia's newest House of Delegates group, which was formed to encourage small business growth and entrepreneurship, will host a preliminary meeting Dec. 9 in Charleston.

Lawmakers are in Charleston this week for their monthly interim committee meetings, so the members of the new Small Business, Entrepreneurship & Economic Development Work Group will take advantage of the opportunity to explore the various available resources.

The group will meet from 6-7 p.m. Dec. 9 in the House Government Organization Committee Room, 215-E, and will hear 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. The meeting also will be streamed live online at www.legis.state.wv.us/live.cfm.

"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," said Delegate Doug Skaff, D-Kanawha, who is chairman of the group.

House Speaker Tim Miley, D-Harrison, recently announced the formation of the bipartisan work group, which has plans to host open forums throughout the state and through the end of 2014.

Miley has expressed his intention to make the group a permanent standing committee when the 2014 regular legislative session begins next month so the group can consider legislation that affects small businesses.

"I firmly believe in and have a passion for small business growth in West Virginia," Miley 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."

Miley appointed 25 delegates who have backgrounds that cross a variety of vocations, such as engineering, construction, farming and both legal and financial services.

Skaff is owner and managing partner of Building & Remodeling Warehouse in Nitro. Delegate Bill Hartman, D-Randolph, is a retired insurance agency owner. He is co-vice chairman of the group, along with Delegate Jason Barrett, D-Berkeley, who owns a restaurant.

Other group members include: Delegates Bob Ashley, R-Roane; Tom Azinger, R-Wood; Daryl Cowles, R-Morgan; Allen Evans, R-Grant; Barbara Fleischauer, D-Monongalia; Marty Gearhart, R-Mercer; Bill Hamilton, R-Upshur; Eric Householder, R-Berkeley; Tim Manchin, D-Marion; Mike Manypenny, D-Taylor; Carol Miller, R-Cabell; Jim Morgan, D-Cabell; Eric Nelson, R-Kanawha; Linda Phillips, D-Wyoming; John Pino, D-Fayette; Doug Reynolds, D-Cabell; Stephen Skinner, D-Jefferson; Isaac Sponaugle, D-Pendleton; Erikka Storch, R-Ohio; Ron Walters, R-Kanawha; Harry Keith White, D-Mingo; and Larry Williams, D-Preston;