Manchin will not seek re-election to the U.S. Senate

Statement from Sen. Joe Manchin:

My father, John Manchin owned a furniture store in Farmington, WV, a small coal mining town of hard-working people. And one day, our local state representative came in and asked dad for a favor saying, “You owe me for all the things I’ve done for your little town.” 

When the man left, I turned to my dad and said, “Now wait a minute, isn’t helping Farmington that man’s job?”

That moment defined the difference between self-service and public service. When I told my dad that I was going to run for office, he said, “Politics is a bad business, son, I’m telling you right now. Stay out of it.”

I didn’t disagree that often with my father but that time I did.

I reminded him of the famous line from President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” I was 13 when I first heard it and I’m still inspired by it.

My family were devoted Catholics who immigrated from Italy and Czechoslovakia. So, to us, President Kennedy was held in the highest regard, and I knew President Kennedy’s words would sway my dad. 

It took him a minute, but my dad said that he would support me running if I made a vow to serve all people – friend or foe, and not just myself.

The promise that I made to my dad all those years ago has been my north-star. I’ve never cared about where good ideas came from and I never blamed one side for creating a problem nor believed only one side could fix them.

When America is at her best, we get things done by putting country before party, working across the aisle and finding common ground. Many times, this approach has landed me in hot water, but the fight to unite has been well worth it.

Today, West Virginia is attracting more investment, opportunity and jobs than it has in decades. Here at home and across the country we are building more roads, bridges, manufacturing plants and energy infrastructure than almost any time in American history. 

After months of deliberation and long conversations with my family, I believe in my heart of hearts that I have accomplished what I set out to do for West Virginia. I have made one of the toughest decisions of my life and decided that I will not be running for re-election to the United States Senate, but what I will be doing is traveling the country and speaking out to see if there is an interest in creating a movement to mobilize the middle and bring Americans together.

To the West Virginians who have put their trust in me and fought side by side to make our state better – it has been an honor of my life to serve you. Thank you.

Every incentive in Washington is designed to make our politics extreme. The growing divide between Democrats and Republicans is paralyzing Congress and worsening our nation’s problems. The majority of Americans are just plain worn out.

Our economy is not working for many Americans from the rising cost of food and fuel and everything in between. We have a border crisis with illegal drugs entering our country and killing Americans every day. Our national debt is out of control and Americans don’t feel safe in their own communities. 

We are providing critical aid to two of our allies fighting wars for their survival, and we must prevent being pulled into a major war ourselves. These are not Republican or Democratic challenges. They are American challenges. They affect every one of us, and we need to face them together. 

I know our country isn’t as divided as Washington wants us to believe. We share common values of family, freedom, democracy, dignity and a belief that together we can overcome any challenge. We need to take back America and not let this divisive hatred further pull us apart.

Public service has and continues to drive me every day. That is the vow that I made to my father 40 years ago, and I intend to keep that vow until my dying day.

May God Bless America, the great state of West Virginia and each and every one of you.

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