Manchin needs to remain in Senate

Too many members of Congress are preoccupied with what leaders of their political parties want.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is different. He has earned a national reputation as a political maverick by making what his fellow West Virginians want and need his top priority.

That can be seen in both his votes on national issues and his work on behalf of residents of our area.

That is why it was an easy decision for The Weirton Daily Times to endorse Manchin for re-election on 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 — in concrete ways.

This year alone, Northern Panhandle residents have seen more than $78 million in federal funding come pouring in because of Manchin’s work on the Senate Appropriations Committee.

A major chunk of that was $36 million in federal funding for highway and bridge improvements in Brooke County.

Another impressive achievement this year was the $3.5 million in grants and loans Manchin helped obtain for the city of New Cumberland to support water system improvements.

They included extending a water line to serve 591 new customers.

Making our lives better is one thing. But Manchin also has been on guard against threats to our wellbeing.

Long before some in Washington recognized the opioid epidemic was a crisis, Manchin was taking action. In 2012, the Office of National Drug Control Policy designated Hancock, Brooke, Ohio and Marshall counties as a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area — at the senator’s urging.

That designation brought important new law enforcement tools to our area.

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.

Manchin was among just a handful of Democrats who broke with their party to vote for four of them.

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.

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

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 on Nov. 6.