CHARLESTON, W.Va., Feb. 28 -- The office of Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., issued the following news release:
Meeting with advocates who are on the frontlines in supporting West Virginia families, Rockefeller said a lot has been accomplished in his 50 years of public service--but that there is more work to do, if we are to give all families in the state every possible chance to succeed.
"Moms, dads, and grandparents all want to do the best they can to provide for their families," Rockefeller said. "In West Virginia, this is what drives our men and women to work hard, day in and day out, and sometimes at more than one job, just so they can afford groceries, a roof overhead and a solid education for their children. Despite working long hours or tough jobs, sometimes the world seems to close in, and families get tripped up by challenges that are thrust upon them by chance. When that happens, we must pull our resources together--as neighbors, as a community, as a government--so we can give our hardest working families a hand up."
During today's roundtable, many of the programs Rockefeller has championed are now part of a framework that supports working families here in West Virginia and nationwide. Some of the key initiatives that have defined the senator's 50 year public service career include:
* The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which has provided health care for more than 8 million children nationwide;
* The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit, which he's championed since chairing the National Commission on Children in the early 1990s and which puts more money back into working families' pockets;
* Head Start, which provides early childhood education, nutrition, and health care for 7,500 children in West Virginia and sets kids on a path to success;
* Medicaid, which not only provides health care for nearly a half a million West Virginians, but also nearly 20,000 jobs in the state;
* Pell Grants and other programs that make college education more affordable. Higher education leads to better-paying jobs and a more rewarding life, and is among the best investments we can make.
(Read more about Rockefeller's efforts on behalf of working families here (http://www.rockefeller.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/files/serve?File_id=a42dab94-dcfe-449c-bae2-29f9346bcc5f&SK=464173F07487D898C39679611D748909).)
Participants in Friday's discussion included: Ted Boettner, Executive Director of the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy; Sabrina Shrader, Upward Bound program assistant for Concord University; Becky Gooch-Erbacher, Executive Director of the West Virginia Head Start Association; Vivian Cespedes, counselor for Student Support Services at West Virginia University; Dr. Paul Hill, Chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission; Delana Daniels, Volunteer Income Tax
Assistance (VITA) with MountainHeart Community Services; Sharon Carte, Executive Director of the West Virginia Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP); Martha Cook Carter, CEO of FamilyCare Health Center West Virginia; and Karen Williams, retired director of Kanawha County Head Start.
(Read what they are saying about Senator Rockefeller's efforts for West Virginia families here (http://www.rockefeller.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/files/serve?File_id=f43f29eb-cb71-474d-a927-efebd2442af7&SK=6069A4DA34325624D170A7CC3E6D91BC).)
"I have been so proud and honored to work with all of these people, for so many years, to create an environment where families can access critical resources that help in giving them a place to live and nutritious food to eat; where educational opportunities exist from early childhood through college and into the workforce; and where healthcare is viewed as a right for all, and not just the benefit of a privileged few.
"We've accomplished so much over the past 50 years, but history will judge us on what we do for the next 50 years. We have more work to do. This year, before I leave the United States Senate, I want to be absolutely sure that we are on a path to do all we can to keep our families strong," Rockefeller added.
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