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Chairman

Manchin to serve key role in Senate

West Virginians have good reason to be optimistic — hopeful, even — as an influential advocate finds himself in position to do good things not only for the Mountain State, but for all of rural America.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has been named chairman of the Senate Energy Committee. He’s also a moderate Democrat in an equally divided Senate who has demonstrated time and again his willingness to compromise, and to vote based on the merits of a bill rather than the letter after the name of its main sponsor.

Manchin likely will find himself casting deciding votes many times in the coming years.

Given the kind of influence Manchin could wield, it is reassuring he understands he must be wary of the abuse of power. Instead, he says he plans to work for and consider all people.

Meanwhile, in suggesting there may be some large federal projects headed to West Virginia, Manchin demonstrated his characteristic need to do things the right way, rather than the easy way.

“There is money coming, there is,” he told our reporter this week.

“I just want to make sure we’re ready, but it’s coming.”

That is good news, of course, but even better is Manchin’s understanding that working toward goals that improve the lives of West Virginians will also benefit rural communities all over the country. Broadband internet access, development of clean energy technologies and increased manufacturing opportunities are just a few on the list.

” … we want to be energy independent in America,” Manchin said. “We want to use all the sources we have to produce energy, but we want to do it in the cleanest fashion with new technology …”

For Manchin, that means more than protecting extraction industry jobs and shoring up manufacturing in West Virginia.

It also means new industries that will help to keep our environment clean while creating jobs.

“There is going to be new technology needed to produce the next level of carbon sequestration, and we should be producing it in West Virginia, Wyoming, Kentucky and Ohio,” he said.

Manchin has earned the respect of his fellow senators, and expects to have a good working relationship with President Joe Biden.

“We might have some different points of view and disagreements, but you just work through those,” Manchin said.

Mountain State residents are looking forward to watching him get to work.

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