It shouldn’t have surprised too many West Virginians that three of our elected officials representing the Mountain State in Washington, D.C., are three of the most bipartisan.
According to the Lugar Center-McCourt School of Public Policy Index, which covers the 2019-2021 congressional session, U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., is ranked the sixth most bipartisan senator, while Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., is ranked the 10th most bipartisan U.S. House member.
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, who has been the focus of a great deal of national attention because he is considered the most conservative Democrat in an evenly split Senate, is rated No. 26 for bipartisanship.
It is important to note that the index does not consider ceremonial legislation or resolutions in its ratings, so the bills being considered must be substantial to domestic and foreign policy.
While it’s not surprising to see these three listed among the nation’s most bipartisan, it is still quite an accomplishment when you consider that three of West Virginia’s five representatives are so highly ranked out of about 535 congressional members.
The reason these elected officials’ willingness to “cross the aisle” to work with the opposing party shouldn’t be surprising is they have done it throughout their careers.
Capito, the daughter of the late Arch Moore, one of the rare Republicans who could get elected (three times as governor, as well as time spent in the state House and U.S. House) in the then deep-Blue West Virginia, has always been willing to work with Democrats to better the Mountain State and nation.
Her 14 years in the U.S. House, as well as her seven-plus years in the U.S. Senate, are marked by well-reasoned support of key initiatives, regardless of who introduced them, and her efforts to better such legislation have been effective.
Likewise, McKinley, who cut his political teeth in state politics at a time when Republicans were greatly outnumbered, has brought an equally reasoned approach and willingness to make positive things happen.
His background as an engineer has served him and the people of West Virginia well because of his analytical approach to problem-solving.
From his days as governor of West Virginia, as well as his time as a state lawmaker and secretary of state, Manchin has always shown the ability to bring differing parties together and broker sensible solutions.
As the Senate swing vote on a number of key proposals, Manchin has shown the ability to stay true to his West Virginia roots while also keeping the “big picture” of national and international issues in focus.
McKinley said it well when he commented on his recent ranking:
“The people of the First District elected me to represent them in Washington, not a party. They want someone who can work across the aisle to achieve results, and that is how we have approached the job.
“Our office has a long and consistent track record of working with members from both parties to find solutions to combat the opioid epidemic, lower prescription drug costs, spur job creation and economic development and other important issues. It’s an honor to be recognized for our efforts, and we look forward to continue working to deliver for the people of West Virginia.”
While some people of the two major political parties may think of bipartisanship as a dirty word, we — and we believe, hopefully, a majority of citizens — see the value in reasoned debate and compromise as our leaders look for the best solutions to serious problems.
And we’re proud to see three Mountaineers proudly serve for the betterment of the Mountain State and the nation as a whole. We applaud their efforts.