Rockefeller says this Senate term is his last
U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller announced last Friday that he will not seek reelection to the U.S. Senate in 2014.
The announcement comes as he nears 50 years of public service in West Virginia and 30 years in the Senate. Rockefeller was joined at the Culture Center in Charleston by his wife, Sharon, and their children and other relatives, friends and staff members.
“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.
“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,” he said.
In his remarks, he singled out some of his proudest accomplishments. They included:
—Championing health care by authoring the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which covers about 40,000 West Virginia kids and 8 million children nationwide, 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%.
—Providing financial support for working families by expanding and defending tax credits for children, low-wage work and tuition.
—Expanding 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; and,
—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 first came to West Virginia in 1964 as a VISTA volunteer in Emmons, where he found his calling for public service for West Virginia.
He served as a member of the House of Delegates, as West Virginia’s Secretary of State, as president of West Virginia Wesleyan College and as governor before becoming senator.