Rumors had it that WV Senator Joe Manchin would be the next Secretary of Energy. But following a meeting with President-elect Trump, the Democratic Senator says he will remain in the Senate. Former Texas governor Rick Perry has been tapped for a cabinet position instead.
Manchin, in a statement, says he was "humbled to be considered for the position” but that he could better serve his state from the Senate.
“I had a very productive and informative meeting with President-elect Trump. I was honored that the President-elect asked me to meet with him and discuss ways we can work together and improve the lives of millions of Americans, and the hard-working people of West Virginia. I was humbled to be considered for the Secretary of Energy position. I have dedicated my life in public service to doing what is best for the people of West Virginia. Right now, I believe that I can best serve my state of West Virginia in the United States Senate. I hope all Americans join me in working with President-elect trump in a bipartisan way to bring our country together and make it successful. I am committed to working with President Trump and his Administration to find commonsense solutions to pass the Miners Protection Act, solve our opioid crisis, rebuild our infrastructure, reform our broken tax code and build an economy that works for all Americans.”
His comments came after reports that former Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been selected to run the Energy Department. Director of the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development at West Virginia University James Van Nostrand says the announcement is, “not a good development for West Virginia or the coal industry.”
Van Nostrand was hopeful that Manchin might get the nod, but says choosing Perry, who comes from an oil and gas-rich state, is like choosing gas over coal.
“One of the reasons Trump carried West Virginia so heavily,” Van Nostrand said, “was his promise to bring coal jobs back. Rick Perry’s not going to help do that.”
Natural gas is often cited as the primary reason for the downturn in the coal industry.
Manchin says he's committed to working with Trump's administration. Manchin is up for re-election in 2018.