FAIRMONT, W.Va. – Marion County Chamber of Commerce hosted its 68th Annual Chamber Dinner Wednesday night at the Falcon Center on the campus of Fairmont State University.

Members of the chamber said this is one of their biggest events all year where they are able to honor the businesses and organizations for their membership to the chamber and present awards. This year’s keynote speaker was Senator Shelley Moore Capito.

“I am really excited about what I see here in Marion County, and everybody is very upbeat about the future. Obviously, there are a lot of federal entities in and around the area and that is important for me to be able to make sure as a member of the appropriations committee that those entities know how important that is that we keep so many people employed here in West Virginia,” said Senator Shelley Moore Capito, (R – WV).

Capito also said that there are shortages in the state’s workforce so a lot of businesses cannot fully operate. She stated that the state needs to work with educational institutions and others through federal programs to sustain and move the workforce forward.

“One of the things I was a major contributor on was the infrastructure plan that was passed through congress and signed by the president,” Sen. Capito said. “Massive amounts of highway construction, bridge construction, water, wastewater, sewer, the Town of Worthington is one of the towns here in Marion County that is going to be the beneficiary of some of those funding. So, in order to meet the demands of the modern era of jobs you need not only that type of infrastructure water, sewer, electricity, and power, we need broadband and there is a lot of money coming into the state on broadband development.”

Chamber officials also added that Senator Capito is driving legislation to benefit fellow West Virginians, commerce, and economic development.

“In the last 12 months, we’ve gained 55 new chamber members and that is the most we’ve ever gained. So, that tells me that the Marion County business community is certainly on the rise and there is small businesses or large businesses… We’re growing and I think there is an opportunity in North Central West Virginia,” said Tina Shaw, President of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce.

Officials with the chamber also added having a senator as a keynote speaker is important because there is a lot of legislation going on that can affect the area businesses. They also said this the dinner provides an opportunity for the members and businesses to speak to the senator about their concerns.