CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA — Yesterday, over a dozen Un-PAC youth organizers from six schools across West Virginia met with Senator Manchin’s Chief Legal Counsel, Kevin Carson. The organizers delivered hundreds of signatures from young West Virginians, collected since mid March 2021, pledging that their support for Senator Manchin is contingent on him passing the For The People Act, a voting rights and campaign finance reform package currently being considered in Congress. Additionally, the organizers delivered copies of resolutions recently passed by the non-partisan Student Government Associations of West Virginia University and Marshall University, representing a collective 28,000 students, in support of the For The People Act.
The organizers, citing polling information from Data for Progress, claim that the vast majority of young West Virginians support the For The People Act, including the majority of young conservatives. “My father served in the navy, so I grew up with a deep respect and patriotism for this country. I am a conservative; I believe in personal rights and a small government free of corrupting influence” said Hunter Hardway, WVU student and meeting attendee. “Voting is a right that was earned through the sacrifice of millions. Senator Manchin must support this bill for the sake of our democracy, and he can win the support of young conservatives like me by doing so.”
All Democratic members of the Senate have co-sponsored the For The People Act besides Senator Manchin. Despite broad cross-partisan support throughout the state and nation, no Republican Senators have voiced their support for the legislation. Senator Manchin has previously named this lack of bipartisan support in Congress as the major reason that he has yet to support the bill, despite having been a co-sponsor of the same legislation in 2019, and despite having voiced support for components of the legislation throughout his career (such as when Senator Manchin came out in strong support for the DISCLOSE ACT in 2012).
After the meeting, Un-PAC organizer and Marshall University student, Emily Clifford, stated: “We will continue to organize, and hold Senator Manchin and Senator Capito accountable to protecting the very foundation of this country: our democracy. The support of a united generation of young people in West Virginia, and the very fate of our state, depend on our Senators supporting this bill. The only way that we will be able to address urgent problems West Virginians face, such as the opioid epidemic and crippling student debt, is by making our democracy functional and accountable, and by passing the For The People Act.”
Un-PAC is a statewide organization activating students and young people to demand long overdue structural democracy reform so that we can actually solve urgent problems. Additional information can be found at www.un-pac.org, or on Twitter at @LetsUnPAC.