MOUNDSVILLE - Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said he wants to focus on fixing the internal problems of West Virginia and America.
"Other nations think that we will destroy ourselves from within," Manchin said at the Democrat headquarters on Jefferson Avenue in Moundsville Tuesday. "We've got to do something big and bold in order to fix this country."
As election season draws to a close, Manchin urged his fellow elected officials not to get carried away with politics and forget the big picture.
"The country cannot take the partisan gridlock that we have in this country today," Manchin said while also encouraging residents to get out and vote. "It doesn't matter if you're Democrat or Republican. The election is the most important duty and right we have as Americans."
Manchin is seeking re-election on Nov. 6 and faces opposition from Republican John Raese. He campaigned in Marshall County on Tuesday, first visiting several classrooms at John Marshall High School to speak with students.
"The world is going to be challenging you for your jobs," Manchin told one class.
He also voiced a desire for educators to concentrate less on final grades and more on method.
"Everyone's worried about test results," said Manchin. "I'm concerned with how you got from A to B."
As he spoke with another class, Manchin talked about human nature in politics.
"It's always easier to bring other people down than build yourself up," he said. "People should be running for an office, not against somebody."
Students and staff expressed appreciation for Manchin's visit, as well as his words.
"It's always good to have state leadership show genuine concern for our students," said John Marshall Principal Corey Murphy.
"He makes very good points about campaigning strategies," said Samantha Berry, a junior.
Manchin also stopped by Jerry's Mini Mart in McMechen to cut the ribbon at a grand re-opening of the establishment, which has made the change to Marathon gas pumps. The business was established in 1994 by Marshall County Commissioner Jason "Jake" Padlow and is still a family-owned establishment.
"This is what it's all about - small, family-operated businesses," Manchin said after fueling his vehicle and cutting the ribbon.
Manchin also voiced his support for Padlow, who is seeking re-election as commissioner. Manchin said during his time as governor, he often heard from Padlow on Marshall County's behalf.
Several elected officials also voiced their support for Manchin.
"I really appreciate having a man like Manchin," said Delegate Mike Ferro, D-Marshall. "He's a true man, West Virginian and American."
Ferro also is in a three-man race for two delegate seats on the Nov. 6 ballot. Also seeking one of the posts in the 4th District are Democrat David Sidiropolis and Republican David Evans.
"There's no one more devoted to the state of West Virginia,"added state Senate President Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, who is running unopposed in the general election.