Manchin Ends First Year in Office; Not Happy with Obama Administration

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin acknowledged Tuesday he isn’t happy with Obama administration efforts to resolve economic and energy issues facing America.

Manchin, D-W.Va., added he would have to evaluate “what is best for West Virginia” when deciding next year whether to vote for Obama. For now, he said, Congress needs to concentrate on solving the problems of the nation and forget about the 2012 ballot.

“We have another year until the election,” Manchin said. “We have debt, unemployment … energy problems — problems across the gamut. And we’re worrying about this election. People are getting bogged down.

“I want this president to do well — just like I do any president. But I’m here to support West Virginia, and I have to do what is best for the state. Come next year, I’ll have to evaluate results.”

Manchin said “no” when asked if he is satisfied with Obama’s results.

“And I’m sure people are not happy with Congress, either,” he continued. “We have a 9 percent approval rating, and I’m still looking for those people who think we’re doing something right. I can’t find those people. There’s failure in Washington from top to bottom …

“Unfortunately, I think the results we are seeing around this country — high unemployment, a stagnant economy, an EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) that is shutting down industry and killing jobs — are very concerning for me and many people in West Virginia. We have such big problems, which is why I have challenged the president to do a better job of bringing people together and leading this country. We need to get America back on track and restore confidence so that we can grow our economy.”

Manchin spoke with reporters Tuesday to mark his one-year anniversary in the Senate. He was sworn into office Nov. 15, 2010.

Information provided by Manchin’s office notes that during his first year in office, he traveled more than 18,000 miles, visited 45 of West Virginia’s 55 counties and visited 24 courthouses. His office also addressed 3,500 constituent cases dealing with such issues as Social Security, veterans affairs, black lung benefits and Medicare.

Manchin’s office also reports sending out 79,000 pieces of mail to constituents since he took office.

Manchin said he is most proud of the fact he has met personally with all 99 of his colleagues since joining the 100-member Senate.

“I’ve learned about who they are and where they come from,” Manchin said. “Too many of us don’t make the time to know each other. We know we all must have an interest in public service or we wouldnt be here.”