Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Commerce Chief Keith Burdette have been busy the past two weeks, making announcements about existing plant expansions and potential new investments in West Virginia that could bring hundreds of good new jobs to the Mountain State.
The expansion of the Allegard Sogefi USA plant in Pritchard, the potential cracker and chemical plants to be built by Odebrecht near Parkersburg, and construction of the Carbonyx International USA plant in Jackson County announced Thursday are home runs for the state's economic development team.
Assuming they come to fruition, these announcements are great news. Good paying jobs mean more opportunity for West Virginians, more commerce and more revenue for schools and needed government services.
But as any baseball purist will tell you, consistently hitting base hits might be even better long term than the occasional home run ball.
And trying to get the base hits is apparently the focus of a listening tour and a new legislative committee announced Wednesday by House Speaker Tim Miley, D-Harrison.
In a Wednesday news conference, Miley correctly pointed out that future economic growth in West Virginia relies heavily on the success of small businesses and entrepreneurship.
He is assembling a bipartisan group of legislators to begin a state-wide listening tour, seeking input from small business so that the legislature can — as Delegate Doug Skaff, D-Kanawha, put it — make meaningful and lasting legislation.
Listening to and gathering input from the people