I read a news report the other day that said U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin knew people “back home” who wanted him to run for governor.

I wanted to write in to say I’m not really sure who that is. It’s certainly not me or anyone that I’ve had the opportunity to talk to. Wouldn’t you think in his home county the buzz would be bigger?

I think Joe Manchin has been a good senator and was a good governor. I think he’s done both great things and not-so-great things for our state since transitioning to the senate.

I have appreciated his fight for miner’s pension and healthcare, but hesitate to support his lack of stance on women’s healthcare and oversight on one of the worst nominees to have been set forth for the United States Supreme Court.

Although, I completely understand his frustration with the legislative process- I believe it’s in our states best interest for Sen. Manchin to not run for governor and continue to fight in the senate. There is still so much work that needs done and we cannot risk losing a ranking member in the senate.

Sen. Manchin still has time to stand up for working West Virginians when it’s hard and up against many of his peers who oppose legislation that would help working West Virginians. Don’t get me wrong, I think Manchin could be great as our next governor.

Certainly, he’d be better than Justice has been, although I think a trained monkey might be better than our current esteemed governor. But is that what West Virginia needs right now? More of the same?

We’ve been getting more of the same for a long time now. We got more of the same when Earl Ray ran for governor. We got more of the same when Manchin ran for Senate. Heck, even Senator Capito was more of the same.

West Virginia seems to just cycle through the same politicians over and over again. I know what you’re thinking: “Justice wasn’t more of the same, and look where he got us.” But, here’s the thing, all the warning signs about Justice were there long before he ever ran. He used to be a Democrat.

He barely traveled at all for his campaign (I can’t even recall him coming to Marion County for an event?). He had hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt. He barely ever said anything about policy and, when he did, it was usually barely intelligible and involved at least one analogy to his freaking foot.

The warning signs for Justice were all there, we just chose to ignore them. Manchin is more of the same. I’m not saying he shouldn’t keep running for the senate. I’ll keep voting for him because we cannot afford to lose his seat in the Senate.

It would be the most selfish act of his career to consider stepping down and risking a generation’s worth of damage just in order for him to give the governorship another try. All I’m saying is this go around, I’m voting for some new and good blood. Namely, Stephen Smith.

He is the new blood West Virginia needs and the kind of candidate Senator Manchin should be supporting. Senator Manchin – I direly hope you continue fighting in the Senate, and putting your support behind new blood, and helping train new leaders to help continue to build power for our state because no one wins when we put all of our eggs in one basket.

Michael White is a Marion County Can’t Wait and Social Workers Can’t Wait co-captain, who is a medical social worker working with individuals experiencing homelessness.

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