He said the "Buy American" movement is a great idea, but potential problems loom.
"It is really complicated," Jarrett said. "Even if products are bought that were assembled in America, all of the parts are not necessarily made in America."
Ron Russell, a member of Carpenters' Local 1207, has been working on the nearly completed Water Development Authority building and grounds.
"We would also like to see American-made goods and American-made products used. We don't know how many [at his current project] were American-made," Russell said. "We want to be able to track the source of all the materials."
The FBI Center recently constructed in Clarksburg primarily used American-made products, Russell said.
"What would really be nice is if we got a law passed requiring this. Other states would then follow West Virginia," Russell said.
Raamie Barker, senior adviser to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, said the Tomblin administration supports the "Buy American" movement, but said that's not enough by itself.
"We also need to get people to look at where a product comes from when they purchase something for themselves," Barker said. "We need to make things in America. Consumers need to speak out. Then merchants will respond by looking for products that are made in America.
"If the marketplace demands that products come from American manufacturers, that is where they will come from," Barker said.
Members of the task force studying the Buy American bill include Edward Magee of the state Higher Education Policy Commission, Mitch Woodrum of the state Division of Labor, David Tincher of the state Purchasing Division and Elaine Harris of the Communications Workers of America.
"Those of us on the committee who represent workers tend to believe each and every product used in construction should be made in America. Sometimes, that it is not possible. But wherever it is possible, this brings jobs back to America," Harris said. "We also have many businesses that want to do the right thing."
"West Virginia's procurement policies," the legislation states, "should reflect the state's and the nation's principles ensuring that the products of those companies and workers who abide by our workplace safety and environmental laws and regulations should be rewarded with a commonsense preference in government contracting."
Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.