WASHINGTON, D.C., May 8, 2017—Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) delivered a keynote address to the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) membership at its annual Legislative Conference.
Sen. Manchin discussed how he uses his unique status as independent thinker to fight partisan extremes that too often prevent progress on Capitol Hill.
For the senator, who calls himself “fiscally responsible and socially compassionate,” making decisions based on what’s best for his home state is the only priority that matters.
When Sen. Manchin works on legislation, his centrist position often reveals ways for both sides to reach across the aisle and work together. “When I look at it, I can tell if it’s a little too far,” he said. “If I can make a few edits, then I can get five, six, maybe 10 Democrats on board.”
The senator’s commitment to compromise will be crucial to passing measures that are important to the insurance community. For example, “we’ve got to have tax reform,” he said. “1986 was the last year we had tax reform. Hell, we didn’t even have cell phones in 1986. The world has changed, the economy has changed and we haven’t. You wonder why we’re $20 trillion in debt and going on $1 trillion a year more in debt? Inflation will eat us all up.”
When decision makers in Washington, D.C., prioritize the voices of their constituents over petty partisanship, the whole country thrives, Sen. Manchin explained.
“Small businesses employ about half the workforce in America. Small business people have to have some kind of stability, some kind of way forward, or we’re going to have serious problems. There’s got to be a reason for you to get off the bench, make some investments, hire some people, believe in the economy, believe in this country, believe we’re going in the right direction.”
Sen. Manchin was sworn into the U.S. Senate on Nov. 15, 2010 to fill the seat left vacant by the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-West Virginia). He currently serves on the Senate Committee on Appropriations, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs. Sen. Manchin previously served as West Virginia’s Governor, Secretary of State and as a state legislator. Prior to his career in public service, he was a businessman. Sen. Manchin earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in business from West Virginia University.
Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) also delivered a keynote address at the breakfast event which occurs just before members go to Capitol Hill to lobby their federal representatives. The Big “I” Legislative Conference is the insurance industry’s best-attended, most effective legislative meeting.
Founded in 1896, the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of approximately a quarter of a million agents, brokers and their employees nationally. Its members are businesses that offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. Independent agents and brokers offer all lines of insurance—property, casualty, life, health, employee benefit plans and retirement products. Web address: www.independentagent.com.