Ashton Marra Published

Healthcare and Marijuana Covered at South Charleston Town Hall


Sen. Joe Manchin attended a town hall in South Charleston Thursday night, taking questions from West Virginians about anything from environmental regulations to Pres. Donald Trump’s policies on immigration. 

More than 300 people attended the town hall at the Labelle Theater in South Charleston where Manchin took audience questions for an hour and a half.

Several of those questions focused on healthcare and the Republican House plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Bob Hardesty said the Republican plan will put healthcare services for disabled people at risk.

“We know that you are against this at this point, but you’ve got to fight with every ounce of your begin against it,” Hardesty told Manchin.

Not every exchange throughout the evening was as supportive of Manchin. He was criticized for his support for the coal industry and accused of not caring about West Virginia’s coal communities who are dealing with the environmental fallout left in the industry’s decline.

The state’s opioid addiction problem was also the center of many questions and statements posed to the Senator, including one form a woman who only identified herself as Bethany.

“We have a huge problem here. My friends are dying. My son is seeing neighbors in an otherwise safe neighborhood tripping over themselves walking up my safe street. If you don’t know, if you’re undereducated then you are so far removed from reality about the opioid addiction problem in our state.”

Bethany, and several others in attendance, asked Manchin to push for medical marijuana. Manchin said while he’s not opposed to it, he believes it’s a state issue.

Manchin will make two more stops in West Virginia for town halls this weekend, one today in Huntington and one Saturday in Morgantown.