CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- After being sworn in to his 19th term in the House of Representatives, Rep. Nick J. Rahall, D-W.Va., said he hopes the 113th Congress will do a better job avoiding partisan politics.
"Too many times, the last Congress allowed itself to become bogged down in frustrating legislative gridlock," Rahall said.
"Historically non-controversial measures that were essential to the economic well-being of our nation became victims of partisan stunts and bickering," he said, forcing Congress "to lurch from one self-concocted crisis to another, hurting job growth and eroding the American people's faith in their government."
Rahall first won a seat in Congress in 1976, after incumbent Ken Hechler, also a Democrat, decided to run for West Virginia governor.
Rahall said his top priority will continue to be the "creation of jobs and economic growth in Southern West Virginia, including jobs to improve aging highways and bridges, as well as water and wastewater treatment systems."
After being sworn into his first full term in the Senate, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said, "I start with a fresh optimism and determination to put our country's fiscal house in order ....
"I will continue to fight for my top priorities: keeping our promises to our seniors and veterans, achieving energy independence, addressing mass violence and ending the war in Afghanistan."
Criticizing the ongoing contentious debates in Congress, Manchin added, "After the nonsense of the past few years, it's more clear than ever that the Hill needs a good dose of commonsense from the mountains of West Virginia."
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said, "Senator Manchin and I share a genuine pride for West Virginia and an unwavering dedication to the people of our state.
"During his time here, he has proven that he is a strong, independent voice for West Virginia. I've enjoyed working with him, and look forward to continuing to work beside him to pave the way to a brighter future for West Virginia."
Rahall believes initiatives to build and maintain infrastructure in West Virginia and throughout the country "can help bridge the divide between the two parties and provide a roadmap to get America moving again."
Rahall is the top Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
"Our airports have plans for growth, and, with game changers like the Boy Scouts of America taking root here, having the infrastructure in place to meet growing demand is a basic necessity," Rahall said.
Rep. Shelley Moore Capito and David McKinley, R-W.Va., were also sworn into office Thursday.Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.