West Virginians lobby Senator Capito to refocus infrastructure bill


JEFFERSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WDVM) — West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito is on the front lines in Washington getting an infrastructure bill passed. For some in West Virginia, there is an important message to deliver to her.

It’s a $1 trillion infrastructure bill on Capitol Hill. Some say it means little or nothing for West Virginia jobs. Senator Capito has already met once with President Biden at the White House this week about roads, bridges, highways, airports, waters systems and broadband. Still, some of Capito’s constituents want more of a focus on people and the state’s workforce.

Morgan Sell with the West Virginia New Jobs Coalition said, “Roads and bridges aren’t enough. We need infrastructure for our families that looks like care for our elderly. We have one of the highest elderly populations of all the states in this nation.”

Maura Ross of Jefferson County says Capito should make the focus one of transitioning the economy to jobs in the renewable energy sector.

“(It’s) more than just roads and bridges — which we desperately need — but it’s broadband, it is training programs for out-of-work coal miners, out-of-work natural gas trades, so they can actually go into the green energy sector,” Ross explained.

The jobs coalition is focused on making the infrastructure bill a way to put people back to work. It’s a message they want Senator Capito to hear loud and clear, and why these West Virginia residents are going to her offices in the state during the congressional recess.

Robbie with the Eastern Panhandle Unemployment Council said, “I think we’re at a crossroads. You know, West Virginia has run up against some tough times, and we’re at a point where we could really rebuild our economy in a way that supports working-class people.”

To many, this is a change that needs to be made even if that means West Virginia sheds its identity as a state heavily reliant on fossil fuels.

Stewart Acuff with the West Virginia Good Jobs Coalition said, “We want to build a new economy based on green energy, a green future.”

The president and Senator Capito are expected to meet before the week is out. Senator Capito briefed her Republican colleagues in the Senate about the infrastructure bill on a conference call Thursday.

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