Several West Virginia delegates were in Harrison County Tuesday night as part of a committee's statewide listening tour, and members of the public made their voices heard.
In West Virginia, small businesses are the cornerstone of every community. That's why delegates are traveling across the state to hear from the business owners themselves.
"We gave people the opportunity to network," said House Speaker Tim Miley, D-Harrison.
Miley initiated the town hall style meetings last year, as an opportunity to hear businesses' challenges and success stories.
"If you're a business person that has owned a business for a number of years, you won't have much difficulty getting access to capital," he said. "But it's not very friendly to those business start-ups that don't have a track record of success.
"So we need to couple those budding entrepreneurs and hopeful business owners with those lending programs and venture capital programs."
Clarksburg Mayor Cathy Goings knows a thing or two about successful businesses. She owns four of them that operate in Harrison County.
"It was very valuable to me to find other sources of information," Goings said. "There's some funding sources here."
Roger McIntyre also owns four businesses of his own. He expressed concerns over the Affordable Cart Act and its impact on our state.
"But everyone pulled out of the market in West Virginia, except for Highmark," McIntyre said. "Now I have Highmark, a great insurance company ... but we're at their mercy."
West Virginia University College of Business and Economics Dean Jose Sartarelli said it's important for members of the Legislature to travel throughout the state.
"To get the legislature to come out, and go back and think, 'How can the legislature address, enable, and provide ways for these individuals to become successful?'" he said.
The next stop on the delegates' tour is in Huntington Feb. 17. To register for the event, visit its website.