LOGAN, W.Va. — U.S. Senator Joe Manchin made the rounds in southern W.Va. Friday Feb. 19 conducting meetings with community and business leaders as well as constituents in Mingo, Logan and Boone counties.
In Logan, Manchin addressed a crowded room in the Logan County Commission building concerning the states economic future.
Manchin started the meeting with a reminder his office is open if citizens need help.
“We’re a facilitator. What I do and what our job is, if you have somebody that needs worker’s comp, VA benefits or anything that we can help them with and make sure that they are being treated properly, that’s what most of our calls are about — helping citizens,” noted Manchin. “Art Kirkendoll makes more requests to our office to help people than anybody in the state.”
During the meeting, Manchin dove into West Virginia’s economic issues and explored possible paths to recovery.
“We’re looking at ways to reinvent ourselves…We are looking at everything, and we are exploring everything.” explained Manchin. “I don’t think there are any secrets here about me being in disagreement with the president’s energy policy. There is a transition going on. There is a slowdown in the worldwide economy so the demand [for coal] is not as great as it was. There is an overabundance of natural gas that we haven’t had before because of the Marcellus Shale. All this abundance of cheap prices really hurt us also. It’s a combination of many things.”
Manchin added government intervention that would worsen our economic situation was rejected by the supreme court because the Obama administration had not addressed the economic issues created by the clean power plan.
Going forward, Manchin noted every possibility for southern West Virginia is being explored saying, “Every piece of land that we have in Logan County or anywhere in southern W.Va. we are tying to figure out what use does it have. First of all, what utilities does it have on it? What infrastructure does it have? What would it take to add infrastructure? Where is it located? How close is it to Corridor G? What can happen?”
To address the the current state of the area’s economy, Manchin recently announced a series of job fairs throughout the state.
Manchin explained the job fairs will not only help put people back to work but help show what type of training is needed to fill the area’s jobs.
Two of the job fairs that Manchin is co-hosting will held in southern W.Va.
In Boone County, a resource and job fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday April 7 in Whitesville at Salamy Building with the Upper Big Branch Mining Memorial Group, Workforce WV and other partners.
In Logan County, a resource and job fair will staged from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the convention center at Chief Logan State Park located at on Corridor G with Workforce WV, federal and state agencies, the Logan County Chamber of Commerce and other partners.
Owen Wells is a reporter for Civitas Media. He can be reached at 304-752-6950 ext. 1729 or by email at [email protected]