Democratic Radio Response
GOV. MANCHIN: Good morning, I'm Governor Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Like many of you, I listened closely to President Bush's State of the Union address and I was encouraged by his call for bipartisanship. It is my sincere hope that his pledge to cooperate for results is fulfilled.
Already, Democrats in Congress and the president are acting quickly to boost the economy. I applaud their efforts to work together on a timely and temporary stimulus package that will provide hundreds of dollars for middle class families that need it most.
But we all know that a temporary fix is just that: temporary. Democrats across the country are committed to a more enduring challenge: retaining and creating the good jobs with benefits that our people deserve.
In West Virginia, we've worked hard to create good paying jobs by recruiting and attracting good business to our state and the results speak for themselves. The state's average unemployment rate last year was 4.6 percent, the lowest unemployment average in the state's history.
Good West Virginia jobs can be found at places like Quad/Graphics, one of the nation's largest printing companies, which has expanded its operation in our state by $14 million and 70 new jobs since 2005. And an excess of $100 million is being spend in West Virginia to start the Certainty gypsum wallboard plant, the largest investment in our state since Toyota.
Democrats understand that people need good paying jobs in order to make ends meet and pay for groceries, healthcare and, most importantly, education. People like Sonya Buck. Sonya, a single mother, was employed as a security guard at the boarded up Walker Systems plant in West Virginia while also going to school to pursue a better life. So when the Walker Systems facility was sold, Sonya was concerned, but the new owners of the plant, Hino Motors, put her fears to rest and hired her at their new Hino truck production facility and now Sonya's wages, benefits and working hours have all improved.
Sonya's story show that a competent government can benefit all the people. Democrats know that government works best when our fiscal house is in order. And in West Virginia, we've done just that. We have reduced the size of state government and tackled our state's debts, putting an additional $1.7 billion towards our retirement system since 2004, so that our state employees can be confident that the money they have earned will be there when they need it.
We also have cut taxes because West Virginia's hard working people, and businesses, deserve to keep more of what they earn. And Democrats in Washington deserve credit for including billions of dollars in middle income and small business tax cuts in the economic stimulus package, providing urgent relief for America's families.
It's time we establish fiscal discipline so our children and grandchildren don't have to pay for the recklessness of unbalanced budgets and I believe that it's going to take a Democratic president to balance the budget, pay down the debt and help struggling middle class families achieve the American dream.
Through competent, Democratic-led government we can help Americans keep their homes in this sagging housing market, restore confidence in consumer good and giver our workers more tools to compete in a global economy. By making college more affordable, passing the first minimum wage increase in a decade and cutting taxes for middle class Americans, the Democratic-led Congress has already laid the groundwork to turn our economy around, so let's keep it going.
I'm Governor Joe Manchin, from the great state of West Virginia and I thank you for listening