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SWAT team can help in economic emergencies

Count us among those giving high praise to Gov. Bob Wise's latest move in response to a sagging national economy.

Earlier this week, Wise announced that he was creating an economic SWAT team to target business layoffs and cutbacks. The governor said he envisions the team working on bringing together economists, experts in business and labor and other areas, and identifying the overall problems the state faces in different parts of its economy.

Once problems have been identified, Wise wants team members to talk to the companies' work force and management to see what needs to be done to assist them.

The desired result, he said, would be to keep existing companies in West Virginia with their work force intact.

The governor's concept has been endorsed by both organized labor and business leaders.

Among those is Steve Roberts of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, who said having a "well-organized, ready-to-go, let's-have-the-bags-packed kind of trouble shooter" is a good idea.

"The ability to act is a key ingredient to success. If an employer says, 'I've got this problem,' it is critical that the SWAT team know where to go and who to talk to deal with the problem," he said.

Kenny Perdue, secretary-treasurer of the state AFL-CIO, praised the SWAT team as a way to get business and labor cooperating.

"We want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem," Perdue said. "Even our own pensions are skeptical of investing in West Virginia. Same thing with venture capital. To get investments in the state from other companies, we have to show that we are all working together."

The economic SWAT team is scheduled to be up and running in the next two weeks. We look forward to seeing what it can accomplish.

Kevin Courtney