LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Open for business

Jefferson County is a great place to do business. We’ve got a highly regarded public university that just keeps getting better; a highly educated labor force; a four-lane highway connecting us to the interstate highway system with another four-lane road almost finished to Loudoun County, Va., and another being planned to Clarke County, Va.; a strong emphasis on arts and culture; bucolic farms; access to three international airports within a short drive; the great outdoors; broadband capable of supporting one of the largest internet universities in the country; proximity to Washington, D.C.; and the capacity to grow businesses.

We’ve got a great court system here in Jefferson County and the Eastern Panhandle. Our judges are fair and even-handed, while our juries take their jobs seriously. Which is why we don’t understand why the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ranks West Virginia 50th for “legal climate.” We, as representatives of the local business community, are pleased with our legal climate here in Jefferson County. The U.S. Chamber has ranked West Virginia close to 50th for some time now, despite all the changes made to our system by both our legislature and by the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. West Virginia has reformed its Workers Compensation system, eliminated third-party bad faith claims against insurance companies, and guaranteed a written opinion for all appeals to the Supreme Court.

Despite these significant changes, there has been no movement in our ranking. The ranking is not based on reality at all — just the opinions of defense lawyers, nearly 90 percent of whom admittedly have never dealt directly with West Virginia’s legal system at all. Let us be clear what we think of our local legal system: We get a fair shake from our judges and our jurors, all the way through to the West Virginia Supreme Court.

Perhaps our excellent local legal climate is why the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals has just decided to locate a new business court in nearby Martinsburg.  Or it could be that the Eastern Panhandle is now one of the centers for business activity in our State. Either way, we’re thrilled to have the new court located in Jefferson County’s backyard.

We can’t speak for other local Chambers of Commerce in other parts of the state, but we bet most of them would agree that we’ve got good judges, good juries, and a good court system. Jefferson County is open for business. Talk to us about how great Jefferson County is, because we know we’ve got something special here.

Board of Directors

Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce

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