Steve Roberts: W.Va.’s determination shows up in economic data | Opinion

The last 14 months have demonstrated the remarkable strength and determination of West Virginians. The record floods of 2016 could have sent us into a tailspin. Instead, we are seeing remarkable improvement in our economy.

As Tommy Lasorda said, “the difference between the impossible and possible lies in a person’s determination.”

West Virginians have always had the determination to overcome challenges.

This determination is found today among West Virginians, and Lasorda’s words describe the effort put forth for the flood recovery. The same words can be used to give insight into what is driving the changes to the state’s economic conditions:

n Our gross domestic product growth was second in the nation for the first quarter of 2017.

n Coal production increased 31 percent in the last 12 months.

n Natural gas production is at an all-time high.

n Employment has increased to its highest level in over three years.

The West Virginia Chamber sees this as just the beginning. West Virginia is poised to make tremendous strides by building on these successes. Our state is growing an economy that offers a competitive business climate, an educated and ready workforce, enhanced infrastructure, efficient government and above all a good quality of life.

We at the Chamber are dedicated to supporting that progress. To that end, more than 1,000 business, education and policy leaders will gather this week at the Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs for the 81st Annual West Virginia Chamber Business Summit. The working meeting will be spent examining the best pathways to prosperity, which we all know West Virginians deserve.

Attendees will be able to hear from a variety of perspectives and interact with peers across many industries. Vice President of the United States Mike Pence will speak, as will President Jerome Gilbert of Marshall University, President Gordon Gee of West Virginia University and Deputy Ambassador from the Canadian Embassy Kirsten Hillman. Sens. Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin will join Congressmen David McKinley and Evan Jenkins to present their views and discuss the progress in Washington. Attendees will also interact with their statewide peers, forming valuable connections and strengthening West Virginia business.

We are achieving progress and providing the foundation needed for the West Virginia we envision – competitive, vibrant, safe and healthy.

The West Virginia Chamber of Commerce celebrates recovering from the flood and knows nothing is impossible when determined West Virginians work together for state progress.

Steve Roberts is the president of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce. To learn more about the chamber, its mission and the summit, visit

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