The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

March 24, 2013

Looking for jobs?

Bill co-sponsored by Raleigh delegate would create Legislative groups to help enlarge W.Va. workforce

By Mannix Porterfield
Register-Herald Reporter

BECKLEY — Jobs, jobs, jobs — the mantra in the political world is universal, hailed by all, regardless of political stripe.

Landing them is another ball game.

Just what does it take, and what devices are put to work, are questions politicians wrestle with time and again.

A new tack might be tested before long, depending on how the Legislature responds to HB3013, which got its start this week, as the session moved into the second half.

Basically, it would authorize House Speaker Rick Thompson, D-Wayne, and Senate President Jeffrey Kessler, D-Marshall, to create groups to work either in tandem with the Department of Commerce, the Development Office or other executive office or agency, or independently, to help the Legislature attract more jobs to West Virginia.

The idea is to set up work groups each month to actively pursue jobs creation in all regions of the state.

“I see tremendous potential in legislative work groups that focus on specifically what the Legislature can do, in cooperation with other interested businesses and state agencies to bring more jobs to West Virginia,” Thompson said.

“Every legislator wants to generate more jobs in our state, and these groups would serve as a valuable resource.”

One of the co-sponsors, Delegate Rick Moye, D-Raleigh, hopes to serve on one such study group, although it’s too early to speculate on memberships, since the bill hasn’t been approved.

“I would like to see West Virginia have more manufacturing jobs,” said Moye, who chairs the Committee on Senior Issues.

Moye pointed to the success of Phillips Machine in Beckley as the kind of manufacturing he hopes proliferate, not only in his 29th District but in all of West Virginia.

“They employ a lot of people and provide a valuable service,” he said.

“If any business reads these articles or has an idea, we welcome them to come and talk to us about them. Jobs are important to West Virginians.”

Moye is convinced the idea can lead to economic progress.

“If we can go out and have a work group, talk to businesses and the people out there on the front lines, that can increase the workforce and give us ideas how we as a Legislature can do that, it’s got to be a positive,” the delegate said.

The bill exited the House Finance Committee in Friday’s meeting, and a companion measure is to be introduced in the Senate.

“I am always looking for ways the Legislature can be proactive and this concept is both proactive and innovative,” Senate President Jeffrey Kessler, D-Marshall, said.

“It fits perfectly with the Senate leadership’s goals in moving the state forward. I am very encouraged by the initiative and believe it will be very well received in the Senate.”

Moye said he hopes the leadership will appoint him to one of the work groups so he can strive to improve the manufacturing family.

“Manufacturing would be a great place to start,” he said.

“If we work with businesses and companies to help grow the work force, that’s a great thing.”

— E-mail: mannix@register-herald.com