A little more than two years ago, I had the unbelievable honor to stand on the floor of the United States Senate and take the oath of office. It has been truly an honor for me to represent fellow West Virginians in Washington, and while no one could ever replace our beloved Senator Byrd, I have strived to follow in his footsteps and learn from the trail he blazed.
One thing that I pledged to the people of West Virginia early on and continue to believe in is the importance of bringing government directly to the people. Whether it is hosting a town hall meeting in Milton, speaking with area residents at a Coffee and Common Sense at Ariana's in Follansbee, visiting with students at Greenbrier East High School or listening to our citizens' concerns at the Elkins Senior Center, I consider myself blessed to have crisscrossed our beautiful state and to hear from thousands of West Virginians.
Next year, I will visit even more communities. It will give me an opportunity to hear your thoughts and experiences -- stories that I share every day with my colleagues in Washington. I have never been more moved than when I heard from students in Oceana who told me about the drugs that were crippling their community or when seniors in Parkersburg shared their concerns about the future of Social Security. Like them, I know you will speak up for what you believe in and I look forward to you joining our conversation.
Even if I am not in your neighborhood, I encourage you to reach out to my office. If you have an issue that is important to you, please call or write. Modern technology has made it easy for us to stay connected. Follow me on Twitter @Sen_JoeManchin. In addition, you can visit my website - www.manchin.senate.gov - to stay connected. It lists my office locations, contact information and helpful links as well as what's happening in the Senate and a listing of upcoming events in West Virginia.
Another way that I bring government to you is through my three field offices -- in Charleston, Martinsburg and Morgantown. I have regional representatives covering every part of the state and they attend events, meetings and functions for me when the Senate is in session in Washington.
Finally, Wednesdays at 10 a.m. when I am in Washington and the Senate is in session, I host "Wednesday Wake-Up with Joe," an informal open house in my D.C. office. Please visit my website to confirm upcoming dates. If you are in the area, my staff and I invite you to join us for the last one this year on Wednesday, December 12.
Every time I attend an event or speak with a citizen, I am reminded of a common bond that our residents share -- West Virginians have common sense. We understand today's challenges and we have practical ideas on how to fix them. We have a pathway of how to move forward. That is what we do in West Virginia. We work together and find solutions to the problems we face. We have a great message to share -- one that I will continue to spread in Washington and across our nation.