EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSROCKFELLER ANNOUNCES PLANS
from Eyewitness News Online
Rockefeller Cites Accomplishments As He Announces He Will Not Seek Sixth Term
Reported by: Jeff Morris
Web Producer: Jeff Morris
Also Contributing: Associated Press
Reported: Jan. 11, 2013 9:29 AM EST
Updated: Jan. 11, 2013 1:23 PM EST
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
Flanked by his family members, U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller announced Friday at the Culture Center in Charleston that he will not seek re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2014.
“As I approach 50 years of public service in West Virginia, I’ve decided that 2014 will be the right moment for me to find new ways to fight for the causes I believe in and to spend more time with my incredible family," Rockefeller said in prepared remarks. "Serving West Virginia in the U.S. Senate is an abiding honor and privilege, and Sharon and I are so full of gratitude to our state and to the countless friends and supporters who have made my public service possible.
“For the next two years in the Senate, and well beyond, I will continue working tirelessly on behalf of all West Virginians. Championing those most in need has been my life’s calling, and I will never stop fighting to make a difference for the people who mean so much to me.”
In his remarks, Friday he singled out some of his proudest accomplishments:
* Championing health care by authoring the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which covered 40,000 West Virginia kids and eight million children nationwide in 2011 alone, and pushing to enact the Affordable Care Act, which makes health insurance affordable for 32 million Americans and 300,000 West Virginians and stops abusive industry practices;
* Increasing educational opportunities by authoring the E-Rate program, which has increased the number of classrooms connected to the Internet from 14 to 92 percent;
* Providing financial support for working families by expanding and defending tax credits for children, low-wage work and tuition;
* Expanding and diversifying West Virginia’s economy, including his efforts to bring the Toyota plant to Buffalo, which has 1,200 current jobs and represents a total investment of $1.3 billion;
* Standing up for coal miners by engineering passage of the Coal Act of 1992, which helped avert a nationwide coal strike and preserved health benefits for 200,000 retired miners and their families
• Fighting for veterans and the benefits they’ve earned by helping create a network of community clinics that now serve their health care needs through 10 locations across the state.
Rockefeller also noted that as part of his commitment to reaching West Virginians where they live, his staff has traveled well over one million miles across the state since 1985, and handled nearly a quarter of a million constituent cases ranging from Social Security issues to black lung claims and veterans’ benefits.
Rockefeller first came to West Virginia in 1964 as a VISTA worker in Emmons, where he found his calling for public service and a life-long passion to fight for the people of West Virginia. After his VISTA service in Emmons, Rockefeller served as a member of the state House of Delegates, secretary of state, president of West Virginia Wesleyan College, governor and U.S. senator.
U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller will not seek a sixth term representing West Virginia.
The 75-year-old Democrat has recently sparred with the state's mining industry over the future of coal, and he has supported President Barack Obama, who is deeply unpopular in West Virginia.
Rockefeller told The Associated Press that public service has dominated his life for a half-century. He said he plans to retire in 2014 to devote more time to his family and vowed to remain a West Virginian.
Friday's announcement is sure to set off a scramble for the seat. Republican U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito has already said she will seek it in 2014.
Rockefeller arrived in the state as an anti-poverty worker in 1964. His subsequent political career has also included two terms as governor.
In a statement, U.S. Rep. Nick Joe Rahall lauded Rockefeller's service to the Mountain State.
"I still remember Jay's inaugural as governor. He told us, 'My name is Rockefeller, but that will not pay our bills.' He gave us more than his family name. He pledged his heart, mind and strength to us that day. For almost half a century, Sen. Rockefeller's service to his state and its families has never wavered from that commitment," Rahall said.
U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller will not seek a sixth term.
The Associated Press reported Friday that the West Virginia Democrat has decided not to run again for the seat he has held for two decades.
U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican, has previously said she is running for Rockefeller's U.S. Senate seat.
Stay tuned to Eyewitness News for further updates on this developing story.
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