My fellow West Virginians, I am so honored to represent you and our great state in the United States Senate. I've been fortunate on my "Call for Common Sense" tour and at my "Coffee and Common Sense" breakfasts to hear your concerns, priorities and ideas for Washington, and I want to continue our conversation.
This is the first column in a series of weekly columns to update you about what's happening in Washington. I hope to hear back from you, both in person when I visit your area or through my office at 304-342-5855. You can also email me at email@example.com.
This week I delivered my maiden speech as U.S. Senator, and I outlined my four-point commonsense agenda to create jobs, restore fiscal responsibility, develop a balanced energy policy that establishes energy independence within this generation and keep our promises to seniors and veterans. In addition, I introduced my first piece of legislation, the bipartisan "EPA Fair Play Act," which would prevent the agency from changing its rules on businesses after permits have already been granted as the agency did to our own Spruce Mine in Logan County.
To read the full speech, visit my website, http://manchin.senate.gov.
Excerpts of the speech are included below:
"West Virginia may be a small state, but our impact on our nation's history and its future is far greater than the size of our geography or our population."
"But this great responsibility to serve as a United States Senator for West Virginia wo uld never have come about had our state not lost a true giant - our beloved Sen. Robert C. Byrd."
"I have seen our state endure its most devastating challenges tragic mining accidents and natural disasters and I've seen our state in the best of times. But at all times, the spirit of West Virginia has never been broken. It is this spirit of working together and finding commonsense solutions to any challenge that inspires me."
"This is what I learn ed growing up: in West Virginia when things are tough, we don't back down. When we're having trouble paying our bills, we don't think of new things to buy; when we face difficult times, we work together to make things better. When faced with a problem, we don't avoid what needs to be done, we try and solve it. This is what West Virginians would call commonsense."
"West Virginians don' t want a handout; we want a work permit. I believe to create a thriving economy and jobs we must lessen the burdens of unnecessary rules and regulations. Bureaucrats should not be able to regulate what has not been legislated. We need to make government work smarter, and its agencies operate more efficiently and effectively. We're not asking government to be our provider; we want government to be our partner."
"We are all Americans. We all share a love for this nation, for our families, for our children, and it is this bond which will unite us in these difficult times and which gives me the hope and optimism that once again we will rise above any challenge we face."