Business leaders in Randolph County gathered in Elkins Wednesday to make sure the county's interests are represented during the upcoming legislative session.
The Randolph County Community Arts Center hosted the annual gathering, held by the Elkins-Randolph County Chamber of Commerce. It provides a chance for county representatives and the state legislature to connect with business leaders throughout the area. It's an opportunity for the members of the chamber to have their individual voices heard, and they take full advantage of it.
"For some of our members, this is the only opportunity during the year to connect with the local representative and get their issues heard, so this is really important to us because we want to expose them to what's going on and what legislators will be doing in the upcoming session," said Chamber Director Kate Reed.
The chamber solicited questions from members before the event, and the frequently asked ones were presented to delegates over lunch. Business owner Ray LaMora expected to hear many different issues addressed, including right-to-work issues and gas drilling in the county. He said those concerns would be relevant to all business owners.
"They put a lot of time and effort into developing questions that we as businesspeople are going to want to hear answers to, pertinent things that are going to affect not only the state of West Virginia, but the citizens of Randolph and surrounding counties," LaMora said.
While the event offers plenty of information for the chamber and its members, delegates in attendance said they value the chance to hear for themselves what concerns residents the most.
"It's very important if you feel very strongly about a possible bill that could be introduced or you feel strongly against it or for it, you really need to make that voice heard and you need to let your delegates and senators know," said Delegate Denise Campbell, who represents Randolph and Pocahontas Counties.
The first day of the 2013 session will get underway February 13.