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The Poor People’s Campaign has held a number of rallies in West Virginia demanding that Sen. Joe Manchin takes action on social issues and voting rights.
The group was in Washington Monday for the signing of the bipartisan infrastructure bill and to encourage Congress to pass the Build Back Better social infrastructure bill. And two West Virginians went with them.
Rev. Paul Dunn, from Charleston, and Stewart Acuff, from Jefferson County, spoke to the rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Acuff said he had a simple question for Manchin.
“This is a question written in a song in 1933 during a coal miners’ strike in Appalachia. Joe Manchin, which side are you on?” he shouted into the microphone. “I’m here to bear witness that for 40 years, wages for average workers have been flat and stagnant. I’m here to bear witness to the fact that we’ve experimented for 40 years with trickle-down economics. It doesn’t work. This people’s infrastructure legislation is simply the first step towards turning our country around.”
Dunn is the head pastor at First Baptist Church in downtown Charleston.
“I’m the preacher who supported Joe Manchin. I supported him even in commercials that aired,” Dunn said, explaining that the ads ended with him saying that Manchin was the type of leadership that West Virginia needed.
“Be the leader we believed that you would be and that we voted in the ballot box for you to be. That’s the kind of leadership that West Virginia needs,” Dunn said.
Following the rally, the group attempted to march to the U.S. Capitol Building to pray, but they were blocked by Capitol Police. Both Manchin and Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema refused to meet with them.