Sen. Jay Rockefeller is the 2013 Sunday Gazette-Mail West Virginian of the Year, for a lifetime of working to bring health care and economic opportunity to the most vulnerable West Virginians.
Rockefeller speaks in November with his wife, Sharon, and his daughter, Valerie Wayne, at a Democratic Party dinner in his honor in Charleston.
Vice President Joe Biden flew to Charleston in November to talk about Rockefeller, his longtime Senate colleague. "There's not a single man or woman in the Senate who does not trust or respect Jay Rockefeller," Biden said. "Not one."
Rockefeller visits Saint Francis Hospital in Charleston in May to applaud Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's decision to expand Medicaid. Rockefeller strongly supported the expansion, which is to provide health insurance to 83,000 low-income West Virginians beginning Wednesday.
Rockefeller has flown to Japan 12 times over 20 years to consult with Toyota executives about the company's engine and transmission plant in Buffalo. He was on hand in May when the plant, which employees 1,200, produced its 10-millionth unit.
Rockefeller first came to West Virginia in 1964, as a VISTA volunteer. He lived in Emmons and helped the town build a library, a community center and a baseball field. Thirty-five years later, he helped bring the town running water. He returned for a visit in June.