House and Senate sessions in the West Virginia Legislature will be all about Randolph County come March 7.
The first Randolph County Day is slated to begin at 8 a.m. that day in the lower rotunda of the West Virginia State Capitol building in Charleston.
Sponsored by the Elkins-Randolph County Chamber of Commerce and the Randolph County Development Authority, Randolph County Day will offer an opportunity for Randolph County residents to participate in the legislative process, advocate for issues important to the Randolph County business community and portray the county as "a quality destination to live, work and play," according to an ERCCC news release.
Exhibitors who wish to showcase Randolph County's businesses and attractions must register with the Chamber by Thursday - vendors may call the Chamber at 304-472-2717 or email email@example.com. The general public also is invited to attend the all-day event, which will begin at 10 a.m. with a welcome and introduction, and will include House and Senate sessions at 11 a.m., a noon lunch, a 12:45 p.m. photo opportunity with local officials and a 2 p.m. wrap-up meeting with delegations. Individual attendees must register with the Chamber by Friday.
"The Chamber is taking a two-prong approach - showcasing the area, and also educating our members," Kate Reed, executive director of the ERCCC, said Tuesday. "Businesses will have the opportunity to set up exhibits in the lower rotunda from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. to inform West Virginia senators and delegates about what Randolph County has to offer, but we will also be using this opportunity to talk about issues important to our area and educating our members about how to lobby state and local representatives."
Randolph County Commission President Chris See and County Commissioner Mike Taylor plan to attend, as does Robbie Morris, executive director of the RCDA.
So, what are some of the issues local officials are going to highlight for legislators?
"The No. 1 issue is the completion of Corridor H," Morris told The Inter-Mountain Monday. "It's a very important piece of infrastructure needed to develop the region, so we are going to be expressing an interest in getting funding so Corridor H can be completed."
Morris said another important issue he and other officials plan to underscore is increased broadband Internet access.
"We want to make sure the state is doing what it can do - and that private companies are doing what they can do - to ensure broadband is being expanded through the state," Morris said.
"The other purpose of Randolph County Day is get our local business community more involved in the legislative process," he added. "Kate Reed and I hear from companies all the time about various issues that affect local businesses and we relay messages and advocate as much as possible, but at end of day it makes more of an impact if (legislators) hear directly from executives, employers and employees.
"It'll be very beneficial for everyone who attends," Morris said, "and we encourage as many people to attend as possible."
Reed said education will be a top priority for the Chamber, as will improving existing infrastructure and tackling current hiring and retention problems because of prescription drug abuse.
Contact Katie Kuba by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.