The American worker built our economy with the sweat of his brow and the labor of his hands.
Hard working middle-class families bravely and doggedly toil in their jobs. They expect and demand good government – honest, practical, frugal government – rooted in the old-time American values.
It is our charge to ensure that the American Dream remains accessible to every citizen who is willing to work for it.
There should be a fair wage for workers to clothe and feed their families.
There should be basic health and safety protections to ensure humane working hours and conditions.
There should be a secure safety net in place for workers – health and pension benefits in retirement, unemployment insurance when layoffs occur, disability insurance when workers get injured on the job, and access to affordable and quality medical care in times of need.
There should be opportunity for every child to attend college and achieve their dreams.
There should be a simpler and fair tax code that rewards hard work and favors middle-class families.
There should be robust investments in technology, and education, and research, and workforce training, and advanced manufacturing, and infrastructure – creating new job opportunities in our region and giving our kids a chance to be able to live and work and stay close to home in West Virginia.
All of these things are necessary not only to ensure workers can live and work and retire in dignity, but also to ensure a strong economy and brighter and more prosperous future for our State and Nation.
The history of our State is one of outsiders buying up our land and the rights to our resources and then getting rich off the work of our fathers and grandfathers, great aunts and uncles. And in far too many instances, those outsiders walked away from our State just as soon as they had wrung out the last nickel they could from us. Our ancestors fought and died to change that. They stood together to secure a decent wage, safer working conditions, and better futures for their families.
And that fight continues in Washington and every part of our country.
We must have stronger laws that protect the health and pension benefits promised to workers, so that employers cannot arbitrarily abandon their commitments to their employees.
We must guarantee the contributions of seniors and workers to the Social Security and Medicare programs, so that promised benefits are there in retirement.
And we must strengthen critical investments in West Virginia’s economic future – transportation and water infrastructure and economic development initiatives that enable our entrepreneurs to grow new businesses and create jobs.
We must never stop trying to level the playing field so that every American worker has an opportunity to succeed in our country – all while ensuring a robust economy where businesses and job opportunities can thrive.
Ours is a great Nation, every part of it. Our workers are smart and industrious. They built this economy. They and their families deserve the benefits of a strong economy that helps the middle-class.
U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV) represents West Virginia’s Third Congressional District. For more information, contact Diane Luensmann at (202) 225-3452, or visit http://rahall.house.gov.