January 18, 2012

Delivering a message | The Beckley Register-Herald

Sen. Joe Manchin’s brought his “Standing Up for Common Sense” tour to Raleigh County on Tuesday speaking at Woodrow Wilson High School and New River Community and Technical Center’s Ghent training facility.

Manchin spoke to students of all ages, from freshmen to seniors, as they sat in the WWHS auditorium. He posed a challenge — “You’ve got to figure out who you are as a person because your opportunities will be defined by your character.”

He stressed that everyone needs to be aware of how the world is changing. He says that this generation of young people is looking at greater debt and a harder time finding jobs.

“You have to have a skill set,” Manchin said. “Make sure you do something.”

Whether students decide to get their degree at a four-year college or attend a technical school, such as New River, Manchin says they need to get the best training they possibly can.

The senator visited New River before his stop at WWHS.

“They’re competing not just against someone in West Virginia or Ohio or Pennsylvania or Kentucky or Virginia or Maryland, they’re competing against the whole world and we’ve got to get them prepared.”

As the competition for jobs rises, Manchin says, “We’ve got to be better, smarter, more innovative and creative.”

He told the students, “You are the product” and in order to sell yourself to employers, you must have value and serviceability.

“They understand that there’s a lot of pressure and a lot of people who want the opportunities in life that they have. If they understand that, they’ll get engaged and kick in quicker.”

Manchin posed challenging questions about political issues. He asked the students to think about whether our country has an obligation or responsibility to take action on the war on terrorism. He also rhetorically asked why so many jobs are being outsourced to other countries.

He discussed coal mining and West Virginia’s major role as an energy supplier. He also voiced concerns about drugs in the state.

“The drug problem is one of epidemic proportion,” Manchin said. “You’ve got to be strong enough to say that’s not who I am.”

Manchin has been traveling all across West Virginia on his tour. He has been discussing ways to create jobs, boost the economy, achieve energy independence, protect seniors and rebuild America.

“It’s time to stand up and work together.”

By:  Wendy Holdren