THE INTER-MOUNTAIN - The Davis & Elkins College community and area residents took part in a town hall meeting Thursday with Sen. Joe Manchin.
Manchin, D-W.Va., said he enjoys getting input from people in the state, and he is able to take that information back to Washington, D.C.
“This is a town hall meeting — these are the best. This is where I get my information and go back to Washington and try to take the common sense from West Virginia back to the common sense that is needed in Washington,” he said.
Manchin addressed a number of issues Thursday, including comments made this week by Vice President Mike Pence, who traveled to West Virginia on Wednesday to discuss the impact of tax cuts. At that time, Pence made comments regarding Manchin’s vote against the plan.
In response to these comments, Manchin on Thursday denied he had “attacked” anyone.
“I’ve been a governor; I’ve never attacked anybody in another party because leadership has to lead, and to lead you have to have people working together,” he said. “For him to come in and take a political cheap shot like he did, to me was uncalled for.
“Mike Pence says that Joe Manchin didn’t vote to repeal the health care — he’s exactly right, I didn’t, because we can fix the health care,” Manchin went on to say. “He talked about my not voting for the tax reform. He’s absolutely correct, I voted for the people of West Virginia. He voted for basically the wealthiest people in America and the largest corporations in America to give them a permanent tax cut, and he wouldn’t even give a tax cut for the working person.”
In Wednesday’s speech to employees of Worldwide Equipment Inc., the Associated Press reported that Pence said, “People of the Mountain State, you deserve to know, when it came to cutting your taxes, Joe voted no. … Joe voted no to giving working families more of your hard-earned money. Joe voted no on tax cuts for job creators.
Pence also cited the Democrat’s votes against defunding Planned Parenthood and repealing former President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, as well as his stated opposition to building a wall along the border with Mexico.
During Thursday’s town hall meeting, other topics that were discussed included health care, border security, deaths related to opioids and the relationship between the economy and the state’s environment.
“To put it in perspective, in the Vietnam War we lost 57,000 or 58,000 Americans over a 10-year span – we lost over 60,000 Americans last year to opioids, legal drug abuse overdose,” Manchin said. “Think about it, you think that’s not an epidemic? So, the president has acknowledged we have a national health crisis. … We need mandatory education starting K-12, we have to keep people off drugs and get kids out of drug-infested homes because they will repeat the cycle.”
Manchin stressed the importance of health care, saying political leaders have actively worked to tweak legislation to make it more effective and hopes they can continue to do so.
A number of local leaders attended the special event Thursday including Randolph County Commission President Mike Taylor, Commissioner Mark Scott, Sheriff Mark T. Brady, Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Parker, Mayor Van Broughton and other city officials.
Manchin is seeking re-election to his seat. Earlier in the day Thursday he took part in a “Coffee & Common Sense” town hall meeting at the Canaan Valley Fire Department in Davis.