March 12, 2011

Counting on Joe Manchin | The Elkins Inter-Mountain


Senator Manchin's representative recently visited Elkins to hear the people's views. I made a list of some of what I believe is of importance to West Virginians.

Potable drinking water and clean air for families and communities: Support the EPA's work to protect our health by enforcing the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act. This means supporting the end of mountaintop removal mining. The few jobs it offers are not mining jobs, and it decimates community health and community spirit.

Pass the Frack Act to unveil the deadly chemicals involved in drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale region. People nationwide are suffering sickness and brain damage from the Advent of these chemicals in the water and air. Do not allow this to be the plight of West Virginians.

Environmental protection nationwide: From endangered species protection to preservation of wild places, all life is intertwined, and in a concrete way, an injury to one is an injury to all. Instead of continuing to plague communities with the dangers of fossil fuels, look to nations such as Spain which are pioneering in solar technology. Place working West Virginians at the forefront of this development.

Education: Support funds to educate children through college. Support creative programs that address literacy, truancy and matriculation. Place-based learning initiatives are often the most successful means to accomplish these ends, where the community becomes the subject of study.

The Arts: Support community, state and federal arts programs including the National Endowment for the Arts. The arts, along with time spent in nature, provide an antidote to drug and alcohol dependence. They offer a healthy spark in the lives of the young, the old and those of working age.

End the Drug War: Stop prosecution for victimless crimes. It destroys lives, unjustly incarcerates high numbers of African-American males and working class Americans, and burns tax dollars.

Protect Social Security, Medicare, WIC and other social welfare programs, allowing us all to be productive citizens to the best of our abilities.

Support a New Deal: We can't afford not to. Franklin Delano Roosevelt's programs, including the Federal Writers' Project and the CCC, put the nation back on its feet, celebrating its own history, music, folklore, art and stories, while implementing meaningful employment that Americans remember to this day. Now that builds patriotism.

Public Transportation: Bring back the railroads. Rural America was much less isolated 100 years ago than it is today. We need trains and buses for local and town-to-town transport. This is good for the environment and a vital service for local people and tourists. It also creates vital employment.

Fund domestic policies by drastically restricting military spending. This spending is creating more and more innocent deaths of our soldiers as well as international civilians. We cannot solve the world's problems with our guns, nor do foreign powers want us. In addition, our military's role abroad is endangering Americans abroad and domestically.

We know your road will not be easy, Mr. Manchin, but we are counting on you to fight hard. West Virginians believe in a blend of hard work, good fun and compassion. We labor to protect our homes. We try to be kind to strangers and neighbors alike. And we are naturally stewards of the mountains and rivers. We cherish our forests for hunting, hiking, fishing, biking, trapping, gathering mushrooms, plants and roots, and for finding solace.

If you support our interests as good, mountain-loving people, we will do our part to raise up the Mountain State and showcase our strengths to the rest of the nation.

Carrie Kline


By:  Editorial