Biden taps Sen. Manchin's wife to co-chair Appalachian board

Committee Ranking Member Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WVa., speaks during a hearing to examine the nomination of former Gov. Jennifer Granholm, D-Mich., as she testifies before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee during a hearing to examine her nomination to be Secretary of Energy, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Jim Watson/Pool via AP)

By JOSH BOAK Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is nominating Gayle Manchin, the wife of West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, to be the co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission, an economic development partnership involving the federal government and 13 states.

Gayle Manchin, 73, has held multiple government positions linked to education in a state where her husband is a political force.

A former teacher, she was on the West Virginia Board of Education from 2007 to 2015 and served a two-year term as its president. Manchin was also the state’s secretary of education and the arts in 2017 and 2018, but was removed from the post by West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice after releasing a statement critical of a bill to dismantle the department.

Her husband was the state’s governor from 2005 to 2010, when he won a special election to fill the U.S. Senate seat. Manchin is a critical part of the slim Democratic majority in the Senate, influencing what parts of Biden’s agenda can be passed. He has come out against a $15 minimum wage and ending the filibuster.