December 10, 2011

Manchin delivers high energy speech at annual Chamber dinner | The Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — A few months in Washington, D.C., didn’t appear to cool U.S. Senator Joe Manchin D-W.Va.’s jets one iota, as the junior senator from West Virginia addressed the audience of 280-plus people at the 106th dinner meeting of the Greater Bluefield Chamber of Commerce with an evangelical zeal as though kingdom come was around the next bend.

“We’re writing checks that our children can’t cash,” Manchin said to the audience gathered in David’s at the Club of the Bluefield Elks Lodge. Manchin said that a growing number of legislators from both political parties — 45 in the senate and 100 in the House of Representatives — are working for solutions.

“If the leadership won’t lead, get out of the way. We’re coming through,” Manchin said to a crowd that interrupted his remarks about a half-dozen times with applause.

Manchin started his remarks talking about his working class up-bringing in Farmington and of how his grandfather — Papa — gave him “unconditional love” in the context of instill him in the concept that hard work accomplishes goals. Manchin said that it will require that kind of thinking to lead the nation through the partisan quagmire the U.S. is in now.

“I’ve never spent my way out of tough times,” he said. “I’ve worked my way out of them.”

Manchin said that, “the next election is trumping the next generation,” but added that the American people are able to pull it out. Manchin said that when he ran for the U.S. Senate, he had the endorsement of the state’s chambers as well as labor organizations. “If the process is right ... if the process is fair, everybody will buy into it,” Manchin said.

He said that people ask him what he thinks about the Tea Party that claims that federal government is over-spending itself and the Occupy groups that say 99 percent of the American people are being left out. “I kinda agree with both,” he said. “We’ve got to change that, and we will.”

Manchin also gave some insights into a typical day in Congress. He said that both party caucuses take a poll each morning “to figure out what you’re mad about and how we can blame somebody else,” he said. “By 3 p.m., we’re going to have a spin on it.”

In spite of the dim financial portrait he painted, Manchin said during his travels, he always learns that the U.S. “is still the hope of the world.” He said: “I believe in this country. I believe in you more than you believe in yourself.”

Greg Carter, WVVA-TV news anchor, served as master of ceremonies and kept the dinner meeting moving along at a brisk pace. Frank Brady, chairman of the Bluefield Chamber board of directors introduced a video presentation produced by Tom Moses, also of WVVA, that provided a fast-pace yet thorough synopsis of the 2011 chamber year. Brady is also general manager of WVVA.

James Hampton, treasurer of Bluefield, Va., sang the National Anthem, the Reverend Paul Wharton provided the invocation and David McNeil of Grubb Photo Service took the formal group picture.

By:  Bill Archer