West Virginia activists say Build Back Better agenda needs to go further

West Virginia

JEFFERSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WDVM) — At a White House ceremony this coming Monday, President Biden is expected to sign the signature legislation of his first year in office. Some West Virginia voters say that is just the start of the work needed to be done for the Mountain State.

It has enormous implications for the state of West Virginia: roads, bridges, mine land reclamation. President Biden would say this is a “big deal” for West Virginia. Citizen activists from across the state, gathering in Jefferson County at the start of the weekend, say this is just the very beginning of what needs to be done.

“It’s time for us to do real investment for people to be able to pull them out of circumstances they’ve been in,” said Mary Ann Claytor.

Claytor wants “human” infrastructure to be as much of a commitment as bricks and mortar. Susan Benzinger says education is every bit as important as completing Corridor H.

“It’s very important to West Virginia because it will give us funding for education from our precious three and four-year-olds all the way up to seniors,” Benzinger said.

That includes preschool programs.

“We want to be sure that our three and four-year-olds — all 36,000 of them – get pre-kindergarten and they will get that from this broader agenda,” she continued.

If President Biden wants to go big, says Claytor, it means shoring up the social safety net too.

“West Virginians aren’t looking for handouts. We’re looking for a hand up so we can feed our families and not have to worry about making decisions getting proper health care,” Claytor said.

These activists know that Senator Joe Manchin exercises a lot of clout on Capitol Hill.

Both Claytor and Benzinger live in Alex Mooney’s congressional district. He opposed the infrastructure bill. In next year’s GOP primary, they stand with Mooney’s challenger, Congressman David McKinley, one of only 13 Republicans in the U.S. House to back the measure.

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