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Rep. Bob Wise touting high-tech economic development plan for s

by Paul Darst

STAFF WRITER

FAIRMONT -- West Virginia is poised to take another step along the economic development path.

That step will not so much involve coal mines and heavy manufacturing, but computers and other high technology, said U.S. Rep. Bob Wise.

Wise, D-W.Va., was keynote speaker at the monthly High Technology Consortium Foundation Roundtable at the Alan B. Molohan Innovation Center in Fairmont Monday.

The nine-term congressman and gubernatorial candidate used the opportunity to tout his economic development plan for the state.

Much of that plan involves using high technology as stimulus for business development.

"This is a first step -- it's not a final draft," Wise told the crowd of area business people.

Part of Wise's plan involves a state Business Council. Now with more than 60 members from across the state, Wise hopes the council will advise him on economic development affairs, he said.

He envisions an even broader business advisory council, he said. Wise pointed out that many of West Virginians lead large successful companies, and that their talents should be used.

"We should invite these people to send us their ideas," he said.

Another part of Wise's plan is to use the Internet to help existing businesses grow.

"We can't afford a bricks and mortar business incubator at every location in the state," he said. "But we can do it over the Internet."

The Wise Economic Plan is available on the Internet at www.bobwise2000.com. As detailed as the plan is, the candidate knows it is not complete.

"I don't pretend to have all the answers," Wise said. "To be perfectly honest with you, I don't know all the questions."

Staff writer Paul Darst can be reached at 626-1404.

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