CHARLESTON, VV (AP) – West Virginia has long proclaimed itself “Almost Heaven” – a movement of song, climbing mountain peaks. Now some are joking that the name of the state in the book “Take Me Home, Rural Roads” may exacerbate the situation as US Democrat Senator Mancin goes his way through Congress.
“Maybe we will reach the status of a paradise,” said Nick Casey, a longtime Democratic official.
Reviving the economically disadvantaged carbon cities of West Virginia and reversing the steady decline of the population is a big order. But Manchin, who grew up in the town of Farmington, turned out to be the main Senate vote. Now he has done his best in recent years to get the federal dollars back home.
Mancin was once again in the middle of events this week over a COVID bailout bill that went through Congress, ending the event alone on Friday as Democrats sought to address his concerns about the size of the extended unemployment benefit.
As for his agenda, Mancin has publicly refrained from hinting at the much-needed investment in “common sense” infrastructure in the homeland, expanding the rural broadband network and paving roads in it. He said West Virginia could supply fire energy to “innovate our way to a cleaner climate.” And he has repeatedly said that coal miners have the opportunity, if they have the opportunity, to build the best solar panels.
Some wonder if his new influence can help him deliver on what former President Donald Trump promised but failed to deliver. To revive the state economy, which was heavily dependent on a free fall from the coal industry.
Mancini Senate colleagues have good reason to study the needs of small towns beyond the Blue Mountains. Manchin, 73, was a well-known deal on Capitol Hill, but respect for the more conservative Democrats in the 50-50 Senate began in November. A senator from Hawaii recently mocked him as “your height.” The game of guessing how he will vote has become a feed for late night television.
In recent days, Mancini’s opposition has helped oust Neera Tanden as the candidate for President Biden to head the Federal Office of Management and Budget.
A senator from West Virginia has not had much influence since the death of Robert Byrd in 2010. For more than half a century, Byrd brought billions of dollars into federal buildings, attractions, and roads, many of which bore his name.
“This is a difficult country, man, our population is shrinking, coal is decaying,” said Casey, a former Democratic leader in the state. “We now have a son who may be able to do something hereditary wise. And I think there is a lot of hope, some expectation that he is going to do things that are significant, unique. ”
Retired Treasurer Pam Garrison said he told Mancini during a $ 15 minimum wage consultation that Byrd had universities and hospitals named after him because “when he came to power, he used that power for the benefit of the people.”
“If you do what is good for people, even after you leave, they will remember you.”
Mancin, however, sees himself not as a policy-seeker looking for pork barrel designs, but as a policy champion in helping Appalachia rusty belt.
“What we have to do now, I think, is appropriate. “We show the need for it, that the base is behind,” he said.
He embarked on that journey by joining Michigan Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow, sponsoring a $ 8 billion tax credit to boost clean energy production for coal communities and the auto industry.
Robert Rupp, a professor of political history at West Virginia Wesleyan College, says Mancin could use his position in the 50-50 Senate to put his small state at the forefront of everyone’s mind.
“He is in the spotlight, իշխան the government could insist,” Rup said.
Former Gov. Mancin has deep roots in West Virginia politics. That helps explain why he is the last Democrat to run for office in a state that has twice as many advantages as Trump.
Mancin keeps the air of unpredictability. He opposed the $ 1.9 billion minimum wage in the $ 1.9 billion epidemic package, even after activists gathered in front of his state office in Charleston, leaving some to question his future legacy.
“In West Virginia, we’re either going to smell the rose or we’re going to smell the rustle, it’s going to be attributed to Joseph Mancini,” said Jean-Anne Evansmore, 80, the organizer of the Poor People Campaign in West Virginia.
A few days later, a Senate lawmaker ruled that the increase could not be included in the COVID-19 aid bill. It was a win-win for Mancini, and he respected Senate customs, including the Philippaster, which helped keep the 60-vote barrier to the passage of most legislation.
Mancin has vowed never to back Philipaster.
Recently in Charleston, outside the Golden Dome of the Capitol, it was saved by a rally of protesting abortionists holding placards. “Thanks to Senator Manchi.”
“We need to encourage her to stand firm,” said Marilyn Musgrave, who works with Susan B. Anthony List’s list of nonprofits for abortion.
Masgrave’s group is now looking at Mancini after he campaigned against him in 2018. In the second full-time bid, he won just under 50% of the vote. Mancin opposes public funding for abortions, but does not stop supporting a direct ban. Still, she is usually aborted by human rights groups, which is more in line with the people of West Virginia, who generally send different signals about abortion.
Being in such a red state with his central instincts, Mancin has repeatedly been the subject of talk of changing parties.
“Republicans have a kind of dream today that just because he is conservative on some issues would mean he would hit parties,” Rup said.
That is unlikely, especially given Mancini’s newfound influence, he said. And that’s good with Matt Kerner, 54, of West Virginia, who wants Manchin to never forget that 16% of people in his state live below the poverty line, the sixth highest in the country according to the US Census. ,
“We hope Senator Mancin remembers that he represents one of the poorest people in this country,” Kerner said.