Manchin: West Virginia Senator deserves another term

It seems sometimes as if partisanship reigns over principle in Washington, D.C. Questions about what is right or wrong for Americans are pushed aside in favor of what is best for Republicans and Democrats.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., doesn’t see that as his mission. For nearly eight years, he has served Mountain State residents well, taking his orders from us rather than anyone in Washington.

For that reason, the News and Sentinel endorses Manchin for re-election Nov. 6.

Manchin’s record has been of serving his constituents, whether in demanding an “all-of-the-above” energy policy instead of a war on coal or helping us cope with the substance abuse crisis. It was after the senator intervened last year that Wood County was designated as a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, giving us more federal assistance.

Mid-Ohio Valley residents have many reasons to be grateful Manchin keeps his finger on the pulse of our area.

Just last spring, he understood the urgency of protecting West Virginians, including those in the Mid-Ohio Valley, whose water systems were affected by unacceptably high levels of polyfluoroalkyl chemicals. He enlisted the Environmental Protection Agency, the Pentagon, even the Office of Management and Budget to deal with the concern.

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Manchin has the clout needed to steer federal dollars to our region. This year alone he has helped to direct nearly $43 million to our region, including Wood, Pleasants, Jackson, Wirt and Tyler counties.

Former employees of the Century Aluminum plant in Ravenswood understand Manchin steps in personally when he sees a need. After the company closed its doors in 2015, employees were told their health care benefits would be eliminated. Working with the company and the United Steelworkers, Manchin managed to get the benefits restored for retirees.

One of his top priorities is health care. Manchin agrees that the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare — has not worked well. He wants to replace it with something better, however, not a plan that endangers the health insurance of hundreds of thousands of West Virginians.

One issue this election cycle has been whether Manchin supports President Donald Trump’s policies. On key matters, he does.

Manchin voted to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. He was the only Democrat to do so.

A political stunt? No. Several other Trump nominees for federal judgeships came up for Senate votes on Oct. 11, with virtually no notice by the press.

Four U.S. district court nominees were targeted for defeat by Democrat leaders. Manchin was among just a handful of Democrats who broke with their party to vote for all four.

And, regarding the president’s famous pledge to build a wall on our southern border to keep out illegal immigrants, Manchin was one of just three Democrats to vote in favor of a key bill.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who opposes Manchin for the Senate seat, has been very effective in his position, in a variety of ways. He was a recognized national leader against former President Barack Obama’s war on coal. His initiatives against drug abuse have made a difference. He took action against pharmaceutical companies that flooded our state with opiates, winning settlements totaling $47 million against them. And on issues of importance such as the Second Amendment, he has served West Virginians well.

Should he choose to seek re-election in two years, voters will have many reasons to retain Morrisey as attorney general.

On the national stage, however, Manchin’s seniority and ability to build coalitions among moderate Democrats and Republicans are the kind of leadership we need in the Senate.

On what matters, Manchin represents his fellow Mountain State residents — regardless of what anyone, Democrat or Republican, in Washington demands.

Manchin has been a good senator for West Virgina — one we should keep by re-electing him Nov. 6.