WHEELING - West Virginia's senior U.S. senator, Democrat Jay Rockefeller, honored in Wheeling Saturday by the Ohio County Democratic Women's Club, wasted no time criticizing Republican lawmakers for stalling legislation via 380 filibusters during President Obama's term, which he said nullifies any chance for Democrats to succeed in adopting legislation to further the economy.
"Congress is all messed up with filibusters and stuff," Rockefeller said. "The people are all tired of it. Republicans are not moving the country forward. They put political power over people in the most arrogant way."
Rockefeller made his comments at the Ohio County Jackson-Jefferson Dinner held in his honor at the McLure Hotel in downtown Wheeling where several hundred state and local Democratic officerholders and candidates swapped stories and urged one another to enlist the aid of their friends and neighbors to reach out to voters before the Nov. 6 election.
Photo by Heather Ziegler
Taking part in a panel discussion about prescription drug abuse Saturday are William J. Ihlenfeld II, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia, at left, and U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.
The senator said Republican lawmakers in Washington, D.C., are more interested in voting down or preventing any legislation from being passed if it credits President Barack Obama in any manner.
"They are obstructionists. They will not allow anything that might reflect credit on the president," Rockefeller said. "We have to get past the filibusters. When they filibuster we should make them read the Yellow Pages until they drop and then we can get on with real business."
Rockefeller championed Obama's cause, noting that for the past 29 consecutive months, 4.5 million private sector jobs have been created across the country. He also praised the Federal Reserve for doing "so good" at helping the country's economic picture.
"In the last three weeks, we have felt a shift in this country ... a sense things are getting better," he added.
In the strongest statement of the evening, he referred to the Republican lawmakers' action as "hypocris y and cowardice" for not passing legislation initiated by President Obama and Democrats.
Other state Democrats in attendance Saturday were Gov. Early Ray Tomblin, Treasure John Perdue, Supreme Court Justice Robin Jean Davis, Attorney General Darrell McGraw, Auditor Glen Gainer and Secretary of State Natalie Tennant. U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin did not attend but sent a letter of well wishes to Rockefeller.
Numerous Democrat office seekers were in attendance as well including Sue Thorn, candidate for Congress, Tish Chaffin, candidate for Supreme Court and Walt Helmick, candidate for agriculture commissioner; and from Ohio, Charlie Wilson, congressional candidate.
Holly Massey-Smith, president of the Ohio County Democratic Women's Club, and Larry Puccio, chairman of the West Virginia Democratic Party made the introductions. The Young Marines presented the Colors while Gabby Payne of Wheeling sang the national anthem. John Chernenko led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Earlier in the day, Rockefeller met at Wheeling Park High School with a panel of state and local officials, including educators, law enforcement are various agencies working to combat the growing problem of prescription drug abuse. Ohio County Superintendent of Schools hosted the event which included testimonials from a parent with a teenager fighting drug addiction to teens involved with a drug prevention club.