CHARLESTON -- The National Federation of Independent Business, West Virginia's leading small business association, has chosen Patrick McCune, a former state senator and veteran lobbyist, to serve as its voice at the West Virginia Statehouse.

"We're really glad to have Patrick on board," said Gary Selvy, NFIB's South Region Public Policy Director. "We're the voice of small business in Charleston and Washington, and Patrick will be a strong advocate for West Virginia's entrepreneurs and small, family businesses."

This year's legislative session, which begins on Jan. 13, will be a challenging for West Virginia's small businesses. Gov. Joe Manchin has ordered all executive branch agencies to trim their budgets by 3-4 percent as the state wrestles with a projected $120 million shortfall.

"Our concern is that some in the Legislature may try to address the budget shortfall by raising taxes on small businesses," Selvy said. Small business accounts for 96 percent of all employers in the state and employs 54 percent of West Virginia's private-sector workforce, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

"We believe it would be a big mistake for lawmakers to pass any legislation that makes it harder for small businesses to grow and create jobs," Selvy said. "Small business owners have to live within their means, and we believe the Legislature should do the same."

McCune is president of McCune & Associates, a public and government affairs consulting firm with offices in Charleston and Columbus, Ohio.

Before founding the firm in 2000, he spent 18 years in a variety of corporate public affairs positions for Norfolk Southern, DuPont and Consol Energy.

McCune served in the West Virginia Senate, where he chaired the State and Local Government Committee.

He also has served as the governor's appointee to the Ohio Rail Development Commission and as chairman of the Ohio Railroad Association.

McCune is a graduate of Wheeling Jesuit University with a bachelor's degree in history.

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