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I wish I was a lobbyist, a person Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., might actually listen to. I am only a constituent and a voter, and don’t especially feel appreciated or heard.

If I was a lobbyist, I would share with Manchin that the people of this state need jobs. I would tell him that the Build Back Better bill is necessary for that to happen in a state with a dying job market.

If I was a lobbyist, I would share with Manchin that our working mothers need the child care tax credits, safe child care and paid leave, in order to return to the job market as a healthy, productive member of society. All other industrialized countries provide this “entitlement” (as Manchin has called it), so why don’t we?

If I was a lobbyist, I would share with Manchin that drug prices need to be reduced. I know, especially as a medical professional, that there are too many people who cannot afford lifesaving medication. And by the way, discussing the one Biden nominee being “too close” to the pharmaceutical companies, when Manchin had a daughter who made millions as an executive in the field is just a little hypocritical.

If I was a lobbyist, I would share with Manchin that, as it pertains to voting rights legislation, it is beyond time to come to a resolution that makes it our right to vote. I know Manchin worked on voting rights legislation, and expected Republicans to vote with him, to no avail. The filibuster needs to be adjusted at least for constitutional issues, or discarded all together.

As Congress struggles with this, the Republicans around the country have no problem taking away the right to vote, and put in measures to supervise all the elections (with further measures to overturn them if they do not work to their satisfaction).

Is this the way Manchin wants to live? I don’t. I am tired of and scared about living in a “Big Lie” country.

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If I was a lobbyist, I would address the fear I feel about guns in our country.

I know how to read the Second Amendment, and my husband owns guns. But we do not carry them where they are not safe. Open carry laws will turn us into the Wild West, the way things are going right now. The Rittenhouse decision should be a prime example. Whether or not it was “self-defense,” it was still a case in which a young man was somewhere he should not have been, and placed in a situation where his actions changed lives. There has to be some form of sense about this.

If I was a lobbyist, I would share my opinions on taxation of the rich. It is inconceivable to me that corporations can afford to travel to space, but not pay taxes. People who have earned their wealth should be congratulated, but that does not mean that they should assume that they can take every loophole, when the middle class does not get any breaks.

And finally, if I was a lobbyist, I would pray for a return to civility in our country, especially in our political world. What is happening right now is theatre for the cameras. The language and behavior is inexcusable.

The recent threats on congressional members, school board members, election board members, news reporters, etc, is not the way it should be in our country.

When the attacks come from inside Congress, and are supported by the leadership, this gives permission to others to continue this behavior. Someone is going to get hurt. How will Manchin feel then, when no one has addressed this?

As a constituent, voter and proud American citizen, I wish I was a lobbyist, just long enough for people like Manchin to actually listen.

Debbie Wiley lives in Charleston.

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