The Times West Virginian

Local News

April 17, 2014

Morrisey wants to work with all to ‘help transform West Virginia’

FAIRMONT — State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey wants to work with citizens to “help transform West Virginia.”

Morrisey was the guest speaker for the Marion County Chamber of Commerce’s “Lunch and Learn” event Wednesday at the Mon Power headquarters, located in the I-79 Technology Park in Fairmont. His trip to the Friendly City followed a town hall meeting in Harrison County Tuesday night.

The attorney general, who was elected in November 2012 and took office in January 2013, commented to the chamber members on Wednesday that a lot of people don’t know the scope of everything his office does. The entity speaks for the state’s legal interests and represents almost all of the state agencies and boards.

“The law permeates everything we do,” he said.

Morrisey said his office is building a reputation of fairness and quality, which will in turn help the state’s legal and business climate. He and his staff have reformed how outside counsel is hired, moving toward a competitive bidding system that is saving the state money. The office has also been developing a more professional electronic system.

The goal is to offer transparency in all of these operations, and to create clarity so residents understand the laws, he said.

Morrisey believes it’s essential for his office to play a role in the state’s economic development.

The team has been looking at different ways to ensure that West Virginia is at the forefront of the energy industry. For instance, the staff members go through U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations line by line to see if they are overly burdensome to West Virginia businesses and jobs, he said.

“The West Virginia Attorney General’s Office is taking the lead defending our state’s interests,” Morrisey said. “We get involved proactively and we fight for West Virginia businesses.”

Much more governmental change is needed in both Charleston and Washington, D.C., and Morrisey said his job is to enhance that change. West Virginia can really soar, but progress takes time and the efforts need to be non-partisan. Everyone must focus on actions that can move the state forward.

“We’ll do whatever we can to bring those extra jobs into the state, because that is our No. 1 priority,” he said.

In addition, the attorney general’s office does consumer protection work, which includes efforts to combat substance abuse. Morrisey explained that substance abuse is a big part of consumer protection and is a priority for his office. A clean workforce is necessary in order to provide the best business climate possible for the state.

He encouraged members of the public to contact his team with any ideas they have for transforming the state. The office can be reached at 304-558-2021.

Tina Shaw, president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber is always happy to bring elected officials to the local business community. The organization tries to hold events quarterly as part of its “Lunch and Learn” series.

Email Jessica Borders at jborders@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @JBordersTWV.

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