January 14, 2011

Press Updated: Highlights of Senator Manchin's "Call for Common Sense" Tour

INCLUDED: Manchin reflects on bringing people together after Arizona tragedy, responds to Bayer's announced layoffs, listens to common-sense advice, voices strong opposition to EPA's veto of Spruce Mine permit

United States Senator Joe Manchin concluded the first week of his “Call for Common Sense” Tour Friday with a town hall meeting at the West Virginia Wood Technology Center in Elkins. The meeting – attended by about 50 people – focused on economic development, infrastructure and a discussion of ways to improve economic opportunity in West Virginia and the nation.

Below, please find the highlights of the first week of Senator Manchin’s “Call for Common Sense” Tour.

Sen. Manchin launched the two-week tour Monday, January 10, to hear from West Virginians about their concerns, insights and commonsense ideas for Washington.
Monday, January 11, 2011
8:30 a.m. Senator Manchin began with a roundtable discussion with state higher education leaders at West Virginia Education, Research and Technology Park. Participants in the discussion included the presidents of West Virginia University, Marshall University and West Liberty. They discussed the institutions’ successes, challenges, and ideas about action at the federal level that can help improve West Virginia’s schools. Sen. Manchin also emphasized the importance of federal support for Research and Development, and the new opportunities that exist at West Virginia facilities like the Research and Technology Park.
1 p.m. On a conference call with West Virginia reporters in the afternoon, Sen. Manchin addressed the tragic events that unfolded in Tucson, Arizona over the weekend and how American can come together. Excerpts from his remarks are included below:
“Gayle and I, and all West Virginians, offer our prayers to those who were injured, and God's comfort to the families who have lost loved ones. It goes without saying that this terrible act has shaken our nation and pained our hearts.
"However, America’s democracy, our cherished values and our government have been tested many times throughout our great nation's history. We have always persevered through these difficult and trying moments by uniting together, and we will do so again.
 “Now is the opportunity for all us -- regardless of our political beliefs or party -- to remember that no matter how big our differences may seem, we are all Americans.  We are all part of the greatest nation on this earth, united by shared values and common purpose. This is the unbreakable bond that unites this country and it will not be broken by acts of violence."
Tuesday, January 12, 2011
Sen. Manchin said the news of Bayer CropScience's closure is a blow, but that West Virginia will come together and recover. His comments are below:
“I am very disappointed today to see that Bayer is cutting 220 jobs. My heart goes out to the men and women who work there.
“In West Virginia, we know how to turn hardship into opportunity, and I will do everything I can to replace these jobs as quickly as possible. Creating energy from Marcellus shale and processing ethane in Kanawha County are examples of promising ventures that I will take an active role in making a reality.
“In addition, the EPA needs to work with us as a partner, not an adversary. It's just common sense that in the worst recession since the Great Depression, they should take every action possible to preserve jobs.”
Senator Manchin also listened to business and labor leaders on Tuesday, to hear their commonsense ideas for how to ensure that West Virginia remains a great place to do business. He toured the Kureha facility in Belle, and was then available to address the media at 3 p.m.
At 6:30 p.m., Sen. Manchin addressed the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce Legislative Conference. Excerpts from his remarks are included below:
“I believe by working together we can tackle the big challenges we face as a nation. And, make no mistake: We face serious challenges. 
“We need to get our economy moving, grow small businesses and create American jobs. We need to unleash the power of entrepreneurs to create jobs and grow the economy, rather than expect that government can do it.
“We need to address our rising debts and deficits. We need to restrain the federal government's involvement in our lives and make sure the federal government starts working for the people -- instead of the other way around.
“This country needs a serious dose of common sense when it comes to our fiscal management. No family in West Virginia would say they should balance their budget by going out and spending more – government can’t do that, either. Especially not with taxpayers’ money.
“We need to change the way we look at energy in this country and we must make sure the EPA doesn’t overstep its bounds, an issue that Jay Rockefeller, the entire Congressional delegation and I are working together to accomplish.
“Addressing these big issues, and so many others, will not be easy. I am only one voice out of 100 senators, but what the people of West Virginia know is that we, the American people, can accomplish great things if we work together with common sense and common purpose.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
9:30 a.m.—Senator Manchin heard from seniors, staff and volunteers at the Marion County Senior Center to discuss their concerns and priorities for the legislative agenda in Washington. Comments from Senator Manchin are included below:
“We as a nation have made solemn promises to our seniors and we must keep them. We must make sure our seniors have access not only to affordable medicine and health care, but that Social Security is safe and strong for them in their golden years.”
Noon—Senator Manchin addressed a luncheon for Fairmont State University’s Folklife Center. He discussed the importance of completing the Folklife Center to preserve the proud history of West Virginia. In addition, he encouraged attendees to share their commonsense ideas and priorities to help inform his work in Washington. Excerpts from his remarks are included below:
“I am so honored to be here and help recognize the work and progress of the Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center. 
“West Virginians have such a proud history. We have helped build and defend America. We must protect our past, while aspiring to an even brighter future. Completing the Folklife Center is so important, because what you do is not about the past or today – it is about the future.
“It is preserving our culture and heritage for future generations – And, I thank you for that and West Virginian’s thank you for that.
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin concluded the third day of his “Call for Common Sense” Tour throughout West Virginia with roundtable with veterans at VFW Post 573 in Clarksburg, and then visited the State Veterans Nursing Home in and the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Senator Manchin voiced his strong opposition to the unprecedented decision by the Environmental Protection Agency to retroactively veto a coal mining permit for the Spruce No. 1 Mine in Logan County, West Virginia.  The permit was already approved after an exhaustive, approximately 10-year regulatory process which included time for an extensive review by the EPA.
“Today's EPA decision is not just fundamentally wrong, it is an unprecedented act by the federal government that will cost our state and our nation even more jobs during the worst recession in this country’s history. While the EPA decision hurts West Virginia today, it has negative ramifications for every state in our nation, and I strongly urge every Senator and every Member of Congress to voice their opposition.
“It goes without saying, such an irresponsible regulatory step is not only a shocking display of overreach, it will have a chilling effect on investments and our economic recovery. I plan to do everything in my power to fight this decision.
“The EPA is setting a dangerous precedent with this decision. According to the EPA, it doesn't matter if you did everything right, if you followed all of the rules. Why? They just change the rules. But what the EPA doesn't seem to understand is that this decision has ramifications that reach far beyond coal mining in West Virginia. The EPA is jeopardizing thousands of jobs and essentially sending a message to every business and industry that the federal government has no intention of honoring past promises and that no investment is safe. That message will destroy not only our jobs, but our way of life.”
9 a.m.—Senator Manchin received an update from members of the West Virginia National Guard, and heard their commonsense ideas about the issues most important to them: access to high quality health care and mental health care services, increased job training and opportunities for civilian employment, adequate federal funding for equipment and supplies and more flexible education benefits.
Immediately following, Senator Manchin was flown to see the new site for the Boy Scout National Jamboree, which the National Guard is helping to prepare.
1:30 p.m.—In a meeting with the media, Senator Manchin announced that the Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve – future site of the Boy Scout National Jamboree – will also host the World Boy Scout Jamboree in 2019. This event will mark the first time the United States has hosted the World Boy Scout Jamboree in 50 years.
3:30 p.m. – Senator Manchin held a press conference to voice his strong opposition to the unprecedented decision by the Environmental Protection Agency to retroactively veto a coal mining permit for the Spruce No. 1 Mine in Logan County, West Virginia. 
Friday, January 14, 2011
10:30 a.m.—Senator Manchin held a town hall at the West Virginia Wood Technology Center in Elkins, which was attended by about 50 constituents. The focus of the meeting was economic development, infrastructure, and a discussion of ways to improve economic opportunity in West Virginia and the nation. During the two-hour event, Senator Manchin also talked about the nation’s debt, repairing the health care law, and efforts to create jobs and reduce unemployment.
Kureha 1: Senator Manchin tours the Kureha plant in Belle on Monday, with Vice President of the Carbotron Project Takeshi Matsukata (left) and President and CEO Mark Suzuki (right).
Seniors Roundtable 1: Senator Joe Manchin hosts a roundtable with seniors, staff and volunteers at the Marion County Senior Center to discuss their concerns and priorities for the legislative agenda in Washington.
National Guard 1: Senator Manchin meets with members of the West Virginia National Guard on Thursday.