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Manchin's Message from the Hill to the Mountains: Working Together to Build a Stronger America One Project at a Time


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One of the true privileges of being a public servant is seeing the hard work we do together come to life before our eyes.

That was the case this week, when I visited the Elkwater Fork Water Supply Dam, an infrastructure project that truly showcases what it means to create jobs and make this country stronger for the next generation.

So much work from so many men and women over so many years went into making this project a reality. Because of them, this dam is truly a sight to behold and a source of life-giving water for Randolph County.

Our state has so many outdoor treasures, and now we can add this to the list of places where you can make new memories with your family. I strongly encourage everyone in our state to visit this beautiful new lake for its many wonderful recreational opportunities: boating, fishing, a walking trail for anglers.

However, this project isn't simply beautiful. It's also vitally important to the quality of life for nearly 30,000 people in and around the community of Elkins. Without this dam, they would be in dire straits.

In the early 1990s, water shortages in this area were so bad that several schools couldn't open. At one critical point, one water plant was within 72 hours of complete depletion.

As Governor, my Administration stepped up and made sure this important project was a priority, and that it had the necessary funding from the state.

We started building this dam in 2006 and finished it in 2009. It took another five months to fill the reservoir in 2011 because this dam holds a 54-acre lake and the water is 98 feet deep at its deepest point.

We saved money building this dam, because it is made of roller-compacted concrete, which has the strength and durability of conventional concrete, but at half the cost.

But the most important aspect about this dam is the men and women who built it. Heeter Construction out of Spencer was responsible for construction. Most of the crew was from the Randolph County area. Eighty percent of the materials used to build this dam came from our state.

This project is just one shining example of what we need to do on a broader level: work together to rebuild America and make our beautiful country strong again.

I've always said that infrastructure projects aren't for Democrats or Republicans -- everyone needs them, no matter their political affiliation. And I've been working hard in Congress to make sure that we can put Americans to work rebuilding roads, bridges and dams that will help other Americans. I'm sponsoring the Rebuild America Jobs Act, which would make more projects like this a reality and create good jobs.

Just like we did in West Virginia -- on projects like this dam and so many others -- we must come together as a nation. We can and will make our beloved country stronger if we focus on our priorities and make the right investments.

For the next several weeks, I'll be traveling all around our beautiful state on my "Building a Stronger America Together" tour, and I'm proud to have the opportunity to highlight projects like the Elkwater Dam. And I look forward to seeing you and your families to talk common sense when I'm in your neighborhood.

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