By Peggy Mackenzie
Senator Joe Manchin was in Greenbrier County visiting the State Fair on Wednesday. After a brief tour of Lewisburg’s downtown district with Mayor John Manchester, Manchin sat down for a roundtable discussion with local civic leaders in the Rahall Conference Room with CVB executive director Kara Dense. An assortment of topics were touched upon, including immigration, economic development, guns, drugs, coal, the sequester, Obamacare, drones, Social Security, education, debt and foreign aid.
Some quotes from Senator Joe tell the whole story:
Although he still believes in a strong coal industry, at least for the next 30 years, Manchin said, “We all know what’s the future of coal.” Plan B includes developing the state’s natural gas resources, tourism industry and technology. What’s needed is the infrastructure and an expressway into the coal production areas of the state. Another idea put forth is to use the mountain top removal areas for high tunnel agricultural production. “We have got to transform ourselves,” Manchin said.
He believes that an educated work force and a revised tax code with identifiable priorities will bring business back to the U.S. and especially to West Virginia. “Jobs will come back,” Manchin explained. “The grass isn’t always greener on the other side as a lot of these corporations might have thought.”
We’ve gotta learn to live within our means,”Manchin said, “It’s just common sense.” The government is going into debt at the rate of $2 billion every day, he said, adding, “Debt’s not a bad thing as long as it’s manageable.”
Regarding taxes, his take was, “I don’t care how successful in life you are as long as you pay your fair share.”
Manchin cited over the top paranoia as the response that killed the gun law bill which Manchin cosponsored. “Folks lept to the conclusion that the next step would be that their guns would be taken away.” In that sense Manchin appears to be out of sync with the general population of the state. He used a well-honed phrase to get people to understand why he has been seeking more gun sales legislation, Manchin asked, “Don’t you want to know if a person’s a terrorist? You’ve got to assume a law abiding gun owner won’t sell to a criminal.”
On the healthcare front, he said Obamacare isn’t perfect, but any change to the system takes time to adjust to. “We can go through this, we’ve done it before.”