CHARLESTON - Delegate Stephen Skinner said he is very encouraged by his participation in the first meeting the newly formed House Small Business, Entrepreneurship & Economic Development Work Group.
"We took the opportunity to meet while the Legislature was in Charleston for the December interim session - to organize and prepare for panel discussions around the state," Delegate Skinner said. "I thought we had a very productive discussion about the goals of the work group, and we learned a great deal about what resources, both public and private, are available to entrepreneurs and small business owners.
"Now, as we travel the state to learn from successful businesses how the Legislature can help small business development, we can also get out the word about what services are already out there for someone just starting a business."
In creating the work group, House Speaker Tim Miley said sought out House members who have experience running a small business.
"Delegate Skinner's law firm has been a very active part of the Jefferson County community, participating in a host of local organizations such as Leadership Jefferson and the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce," Speaker Miley said. "He is committed to supporting fellow small business owners not just in his area, but throughout the state.
"I appreciate his dedication and service and am grateful to him for providing input in this effort."
Speaker Miley, who will be an ex officio, non-voting member, recently announced the formation of the bipartisan work group, which will be holding discussion forums in different regions of the state through the end of 2014.
Once the 2014 regular session begins, Speaker Miley intends to make the group a permanent standing committee to consider legislation affecting small businesses.
"I firmly believe in and have a passion for small-business growth in West Virginia," the Speaker 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.
"This group will travel the state, holding legislative panel discussions with small business people and learning from them about what made them successful."