February 28, 2011

Manchin Staff Visits All 55 Counties During Senator's Mission in the Middle East

While Senator was on fact-finding mission, staff held more than 80 events, traveled more than 7,000 miles for successful ‘Commonsense Connections Week’

Washington, D.C.  – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) today announced that while he was traveling through the Middle East on a fact-finding mission, his office staff visited every one of the state’s 55 counties during more than 80 events for “Commonsense Connections Week” and spoke to hundreds of West Virginians about their priorities, concerns and ideas. 

During the month of February alone, Senator Manchin and his staff held more than 100 outreach events, including “Coffee and Common Sense” discussions, conversations with veterans, luncheons at senior centers, and meetings at local cafes, higher education institutions and libraries.

Senator Manchin spent the past 10 days visiting important countries in the Middle East, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel and Jordan, where he visited with national and local leaders, West Virginians serving overseas, diplomats and the military commanders on the ground.

“Nothing is more important to me than hearing from West Virginians, which is why I directed my staff to blanket the state while I had to be in the Middle East,” Senator Manchin said. “In just five work days, my dedicated staff traveled to all 55 counties and listened directly to West Virginians’ priorities, concerns and commonsense ideas on how to start rebuilding America. My staff is providing me with your vital feedback, and I will take it directly to Washington.”

The week began at the Marshall University Student Center and the Putnam County Library, where staff visited with several people, including a World War II veteran from Scott Depot. There were stops at the KisselStop Cafe in Elkins, the West End Cafe in West Union, and Betty’s Korner Cafe in Union.

Staff focused attention on the men and women who already have sacrificed so much for this country. They visited VA centers in Clarksburg, Parkersburg, Martinsburg, and Huntington, among other locations. Staff also reached out to seniors all across the state to hear their priorities and concerns, making visits to senior centers in Mercer, McDowell, Wood, Summers, Greenbrier, Braxton, Gilmer, Tyler, Mason, Brooke and Fayette counties, to name a few. They played bingo with seniors at the Calhoun County Commission on Aging, and spoke with the chief of police in Boone County. They toured courthouses in Lewis, Wirt, Pleasants, Braxton, Putnam and Marion counties, and had the opportunity to meet the people who work at these locations serving West Virginians each day. They spoke to local residents at public libraries in Pineville, Chapmanville, Paden City, Grantsville and Moundsville to collect their concerns on comment cards.

Senator Manchin began the year with a successful two-week “Call for Common Sense” tour, during which he visited 11 counties, drove more than 1,800 miles and talked to hundreds of West Virginias about their ideas, concerns and priorities. Following the success of the “Call for Common Sense” tour, Manchin launched “Coffee and Common Sense,” an ongoing series of conversations with constituents. Senator Manchin has already visited Follansbee, Beckley, Fayetteville, Lewisburg and White Sulphur Springs for “Coffee and Common Sense.”

“I am so proud that my staff had the pleasure of spending time with so many West Virginians,” Senator Manchin added. “Visiting with West Virginians has always been my favorite part of public service, and I am very eager to make even more ‘Commonsense Connections’ with the people of our great state.”

Last week Senator Manchin helped kickoff the new constituent outreach program “Commonsense Connections” with a video message, which is available on the Senator’s YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ib-mS2JQAI.

An audio recording of his message is available here: http://demradio.senate.gov/actualities/manchin/022211_MANCHIN.mp3

A collection of photos from “Commonsense Connections Week” is available here: http://manchin.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=common-sense-connections-week