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Democrats Honor Rockefeller's 50 Years Of Public Service

Reported by: Send eMail Dave Benton
Web Producer: Heath Harrison
Also Contributing: Associated Press, Heath Harrison
Reported: Nov. 2, 2013 4:19 PM EDT
Updated: Nov. 3, 2013 12:52 AM EDT

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Rockefeller Tribute
Eyewitness News Photo

Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia

National honors came for West Virginia's senior U.S. senator Saturday, as politicians and people from across the region and from the nation’s capital gathered to celebrate Jay Rockefeller.

The West Virginia Democrat has represented the state in the United States Senate for almost three decades, and he was celebrated at his party’s annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner at the Charleston Civic Center.

Rockefeller cited several accomplishments during his time in office. He's proud of championing children's health care, connecting classrooms to the Internet, standing up for coal miners, fighting for veterans benefits and for diversifying the state's economy by bringing Toyota to West Virginia.

Vice President Joe Biden was Rockefeller's senate colleague for 20 years. During his keynote address to the dinner, he told the crowd Rockefeller has a passion for the people and that his work on improving the nation’s intelligence capabilities has made America a much safer place.

With time in the Legislature, as governor and as senator, Rockefeller's 50 years of public service to West Virginia is coming to an end with his retirement, set for when his term expires in 2015.

Many said his leadership has made a huge difference in the Mountain State.

Former Gov. Gaston Caperton and U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin attended the event to congratulate Rockefeller.


Related story: For a look back at Rockefeller's first Senate campaign from 1984, visit our ”Remember When” section.




Vice President Joe Biden says no one in the U.S. Senate commands more respect than Sen. Jay Rockefeller.

On Saturday, Biden attended the state Democratic Party's annual fundraiser, an occasion used to honor Rockefeller's nearly 50 years of public service in West Virginia and 30 years in the U.S. Senate. Rockefeller, 76, has said he will not seek re-election.

Biden praised Rockefeller as a public servant with great character and integrity.

For his part, Rockefeller recalled that it was his work as a VISTA volunteer that first brought him to West Virginia.

He said he's spent his entire career pursuing VISTA objectives: quality education, health care and jobs.

Rockefeller said the volunteer post in Emmons, W. Va., "made me who I am and I love them for it."

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.




Vice President Joe Biden will be the keynote speaker at the West Virginia Democratic Party's annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner.

West Virginia Democratic chairman Larry Puccio said Biden accepted an invitation from U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin to deliver the keynote address Saturday in Charleston.

This year's dinner will celebrate U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller's 50 years of public service to West Virginia. He announced in January that he will not seek a sixth term in 2014.

The dinner is scheduled for the Charleston Civic Center.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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