Tuesday afternoon saw Sen. Joe Manchin visiting Jefferson County with a goal of listening to voters and sharing his views on the upcoming election and issues surrounding it.
Manchin spent time visiting Charles Town establishments including the Bank of Charles Town, Collin's Barber Shop and Valley Hardware. On the way to these businesses, he spent time answering questions of those voters supporting his opponent, John Raese. The Republican supporters questioned Manchin's efforts to save jobs in West Virginia. One man questioned why Manchin was not in Charlotte at the Democratic National Convention.
"I'd rather be here with you," Manchin told him.
In a brief stop inside Needful Things, Manchin met with a group of gentlemen who meet regularly at the lunch counter there. He held a conversation focusing on the issues important to those voters, namely the economy and healthcare.
The discussion delved into the need to eliminate waste and fraud in the areas of Medicaid and Medicare as well as in other entitlement programs funded by the government. Manchin shared that he is completely opposed to Republican Vice-Presidential nominee Paul Ryan's idea of a voucher system.
"You can't throw a person who has given the best years of their lives and if the market goes south, you say 'too bad,'" Manchin said. He explained that those who have paid in to Social Security should expect to get that money back; however, not all individuals have the need for some of the benefits associated with that such as cost of living increases.
"Either way," Manchin told the group, "if we don't take care of the debt problem, we won't be able to sustain."
A lively discussion on the Department of Defense and possible cuts in that area had Charles Town resident Glen Ramsburg saying that he felt that cutting the DoD budget could lead to lack of security for the United States. Manchin countered that saying that cuts could and should be made to private contractors.
"We can cut that DoD budget and actually strengthen support for our military personnel," he said.
At a gathering at Skipper's in downtown Charles Town, Manchin addressed the need for Republicans and Democrats to work together.
"The greatest challenge we have is to bring people together for the good of the country," Manchin said. He said, too, that the first thing that has to be done regardless of who wins the election in November is to fix the debt problem of this nation.
"We need to attack fraud, abuse and waste," he said. He shared that in the last year there was approximately $125 billion in waste in entitlement programs.
He called for current politicians to step up and be leaders in the country; however, he said he believes that no one will do anything before Nov. 6 for fear of what they say being used against them in smear campaign tactics.
"We need to look at things not from a blind party side but at what is good for the country," he reiterated. "That is what whoever is president needs to have as their #1 priority-the finances."
Manchin took the time while in Skippers to address those in the audience clearly supporting his opponent.
"Thank you for being here, for being respectful. At least you're involved. God bless you, I appreciate that," he said.