WV Senator Joe Manchin Takes Walking Tour Of Marlinton
Marlinton, WV – West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin stopped in Marlinton on August 12th, part of his “Rebuilding America” tour of the state while on recess from his Washington duties. After spending time talking with folks at the Pocahontas County courthouse, he took a walking tour of Marlinton. The first stop on the tour was the Pocahontas Artisans Coop gallery, where coop president Mike Garrigan spoke about the new shop.
“We started up in Green Bank, 5 or 6 years ago, we had a chance to move down here to Marlinton” says Garrigan. “The Mitchell Brothers [were] kind enough to help us out; this was the old Rambler dealership. We’re going to try to be open the 1st of September and there’s probably about 20 artisans, we’re really a business incubator. We are a 501c3 [nonprofit] that gets all these folks together and we sell it as a collective.”
From there, Manchin and his entourage made their way down Main street to speak to folks in other businesses. Between shops, Manchin and Marlinton Mayor Joe Smith talked about the oft delayed flood wall project.
“With the river filled up the way they are, if they would work with the river to bring that up, and put new habitat in the river, but basically dredging the river out” says Manchin, “building the walls.”
“I would say probably 90% of the people who live her think that’s a wonderful idea” says Smith.
During a stop at the Pocahontas Times office, Manchin spoke a little bit about life as a Senator.
“In my observation in nine months, it’s more about politics, both on a personal and party basis” he says. “There’s so many people pulling and tugging; special interest groups are pulling and tugging on what part of what individual legislature will work with them or agree with them. Or on that side, which party more favors their way, and there’s so much being thrown at people and their all over the board.”
“There’s so much going on that you’re expected to know or be on top of, that if you don’t work extremely hard trying to find out, know a little bit about everything, so when you’re speaking or engulfed in a conversation, at least you have an idea of what the consequences or what the problems are; it’s a challenge.”
He also explained why he chose Pocahontas as part of his state wide tour.
“I think a lot people in Pocahontas feel like they’re out of sight, out of mind” he says, “that they’re so far from Charleston, they’re so far from the mainstream, maybe people have forgotten. You see all the people who are trying to secure a little bit of the quality of life you all have in Pocahontas County, and the people who live here are trying to make a living; the challenges that go with that. I think it basically represents rural America.”
“We’ve got to make sure the federal government understands any type of laws, or rules or regulations that we pass have an effect, especially in rural America where they’re trying to help, and basically might hinder them.”
Manchin also stopped by the Snowshoe Career Center and spoke with Vista volunteer Emily Lassiter and Marilyn Norris with the Pocahontas County Prevention Coalition. Then it was over to Rayetta’s Lunchbox for lunch before heading to his next stop at the state fair in Lewisburg. Before leaving town, he took a few moments to admire Molly Must’s beautiful mural on the House of Style building.