Eric Douglas Published

Activists Urge Calls to Manchin On Voting Rights, Minimum Wage, Filibuster Action

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Speakers from West Virginia gathered to demand action from U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, joining a Monday press conference in Charleston sponsored by the national Poor People’s Campaign.

Their grassroots effort built on a series of full-page newspaper ads taken out in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, The Herald-Dispatch in Huntington, The Parkersburg News and Sentinel and The Journal of Martinsburg. The ads demanded Manchin support a $15 an hour minimum wage and the John Lewis Voting Rights act, along with ending the Congressional filibuster.

Rev. William J. Barber, one of the co-chairs of the group, said the organization plans to up the pressure.

“We are launching a national call-in and we are in serious conversations and preparations about nonviolent civil disobedience stand-ins, sit-ins, et cetera,” he said.

The speakers set up a video camera outside of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce offices, where they said much of the dark money in politics comes from. They also shared Manchin’s Washington, D.C. office number, encouraging the organization’s supporters to call and make their voices heard.

Manchin responded to their efforts through a spokesperson. “Senator Manchin appreciates The Poor People’s Campaign advocacy efforts, which is why he met with the group several months ago. He continues to listen to the concerns West Virginians share and seek solutions to the issues facing our state.”

Manchin has opposed a $15 federal minimum wage and an elections bill that he said he couldn’t support because it lacked bipartisan support.

Senate Democrats unveiled a pared-back elections bill last week.

Manchin long has defended the filibuster as many of his Senate colleagues have shifted on the issue.