WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. -- West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey talked Wednesday at the state Chamber of Commerce's Annual Meeting and Business Summit about what his office is doing to improve the state's economy.
"We're going to have to make some major changes," Morrisey said at The Greenbrier. "All of these small and incremental reforms are not going to be sufficient for the state of West Virginia to succeed in the future."
He said part of that potential economic success depends on the leadership at the Attorney General's Office. Morrisey's office began with one important goal in January: "to improve the quality of lawyering operating in the Attorney General's Office," he said.
"We want folks in the state of West Virginia to know there is a very competent Attorney General's Office in place," he said. "We were fortunate enough to bring in some incredible talent. We have been able to transform our office and improve the quality of lawyering."
He said his office has also made the hiring of outside counsel more competitive and transparent.
"That's important because we know the friends and family plan of the past was not the right way to handle the hiring of outside counsel," Morrisey said. "We are operating in a much more transparent environment within the office of the Attorney General."
The office would request bids, publish bids, to create an environment where everyone has a shot to compete.
"Effectively, we've put an end to the nonsense that existed in this office in the past," he said.
Morrisey and his predecessor, longtime Attorney General Darrell McGraw, have publicly argued over issues since last year's campaign.
Most recently, Morrisey alleged in July that McGraw spoke to him about a lawsuit against drug manufacturer Cardinal Health during a campaign stop in 2012. Morrisey's wife, Denise Henry, has lobbied for Cardinal Health.
According to Morrisey, McGraw implied that he filed the lawsuit against the drug company to retaliate against Morrisey. McGraw said he never spoke to Morrisey about the Cardinal Health case.
One of the bigger issues Morrisey's office is taking on to stimulate the state's economy is regulation, he said.
"One of the major activities we've been working on is to identify regulations that have excessive burdens on the state of West Virginia and if we find out that there are regulations that need to be changed, perhaps working with our state agency clients can help individuals and businesses comply with the law in a less burdensome matter," he said.
Additionally, the Attorney General's Office established an internal substance abuse task force.
"Substance abuse is a jobs issue and we must attack it with vigor," Morrisey said. "We don't ever want to hear an employer can't find good employees because of drug problems. That's unacceptable."