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Working people in West Virginia know that politicians in Washington have not delivered on their promises for too long. Democrats and Republicans have said they would deliver good-paying jobs for our communities to get our votes, but they then get lost in the chaos of politics while forgetting about the folks who are hustling every day to survive.

West Virginians are hard-working people who don’t need a handout, they just need a system that works for them, not against them. In real terms, that means leaders willing to raise wages, protect their jobs and ensure that older adults and veterans receive the care they need.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., can be that leader.

Make no mistake, Manchin is deeply loyal to the people of West Virginia and is now in a position of power that could deliver vital funding for West Virginians as part of the American Jobs Plan. With Manchin’s support, the American Jobs Plan could finally deliver the good-paying jobs we need in West Virginia, including things like improved care for our veterans and our seniors.

I don’t blame Manchin for being skeptical about the cost or wanting bipartisan support, but, at some point, you must fish or cut bait. Because, while politicians are fighting in Washington, the people of West Virginia struggle at no fault of their own.

It is time for Manchin to do what he does best — stand up for West Virginians by voting for the jobs and care we deserve.

As our parents and grandparents get older, West Virginia will need more professionally trained caregivers to meet their needs. With the support and leadership of Manchin, the American Jobs Plan would create roughly 1 million home-care jobs nationally, and roughly 5,500 of those jobs will be right here in West Virginia. Without this $400 billion dollar investment, we will continue to experience the care shortage that has come with the coronavirus pandemic, and our parents, neighbors and veterans will continue to go without care.

West Virginians need access to good-paying jobs and quality care, so that we can get back to work.

Bipartisanship is great, in theory, but not at the expense of real, working West Virginians. As we begin to recover from the recession caused by the pandemic, we need government to work for us, not against us.

We are eager to return to work, but can’t because there are no good-paying jobs and no one to care for our loved ones.

Thankfully, in this case, the buck stops with Manchin. He has the power to bring these jobs to West Virginia and put money into the pockets of working people. And for the sake of those struggling — we are counting on him.

Joyce Gibson, of Huntington, is executive vice president of the West Virginia AFL-CIO and treasurer-secretary of the Service Employees International Union District 1199, representing more than 24,000 workers in West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio.

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