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W.Va. Chamber making its way to Washington DC for business summit

Members of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce are making their last stop on the chamber’s listening tour Wednesday night in Martinsburg before attending the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s 10th annual Small Business Summit in Washington, which runs through Friday.

“We are going to be talking energy, the EPA, the economy and what we can do to improve job creation at home,” West Virginia Chamber of Commerce president Steve Roberts said.

The event brings together about 700 small-business owners and entrepreneurs for three days of meetings, panels, speeches and networking opportunities.

Roberts along with several other chamber representatives and members will attend sessions this week.

“We are also looking at specific issues and how we can help some small businesses,” Roberts said. “For us, it’s important to listen to what’s on their mind.”

During the chamber’s listening tour, which included stops in Huntington, Morgantown and Buckhannon, Roberts said small businesses consistently wanted to learn more about human-resource issues, including what to pay their employees, changing minimum-wage laws and how to hire and keep a drug-free workforce.

“We will be looking at things to help small businesses network more and get their products out too,” Roberts said.

Roberts plans to meet members of the U.S. House of Representatives while in Washington, as well as Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and his senior staff. He will also meet with U.S. Chamber of Commerce members for an “issues briefing.”

The West Virginia chamber has a very close and good working relationship with the U.S. chamber, Roberts added.

“Small-business people are really challenged from leaving the business,” Roberts said. “It will make it possible for them to get information and have questions answered without leaving their business.”

Reach Caitlin Cook at or 304-348-5133.

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