From Your Delegate: Getting an early start on economic development

·2 min read
Del. Gary  Howell
Del. Gary Howell

The Legislature has now convened for our 2022 regular session. Normally we have three days of interim committee meetings prior to the beginning of session, but this year was a little different, as we took part in a special session to help with economic development.

The special session was held to get a jump start on passing several bills that will help generate economic development and may have taken much longer to pass if we had waited for the regular session.

As a result of passage of those bills, three companies announced they are moving to West Virginia. The first is Owens Minor, a company that makes medical devices, who announced they are moving operations from Pittsburgh to Morgantown. This will bring in 125 new jobs to start and they are expected to expand operations from there, hiring even more people in the future.

The second is Green Power Motors, which will make electric school buses in South Charleston. They will initially start with 200 jobs, but as the plant comes into full production this will jump to about 900 jobs.

The third is Nucor, which will locate at the Apple Grove site in Mason County. Nucor is the largest steel manufacturer in the country and is investing $2.7 billion, the single largest private investment in state history. This will start with 800 jobs, but Nucor will be an anchor that will draw their customers to our state. The total jobs as a result of this project could reach 4,000 in the region.

West Virginia is doing great things and people are taking notice. We are having inquiries from companies that never gave West Virginia a second look. In the latest numbers West Virginia has an unemployment rate of 4.0% - below the national rate of 4.2% and well below neighboring Maryland, which is at 5.4%.

Locally, Mineral County has a 2.3% unemployment rate. West Virginia truly is the best place to live, work or raise a family, but we are not stopping there. We are moving forward on making West Virginia even more attractive to job creators. We want those who left to find work let our country roads bring them home.

Things are just getting started for the 60-day session, but if you have any ideas to make our great state even more attractive or just need help with a state agency, please contact me. My office number is 304-340-3191 or you can email me at Gary.Howell@WVHouse.gov.

This article originally appeared on Mineral Daily News-Tribune: From Your Delegate: Getting an early start on economic development