Sharing Your Blessings This Holiday Season

On behalf of the citizens of the Mountain State, and as your United States Senator, it is my distinct pleasure to wish each of you a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Season!

As this holiday season arrives, Gayle and I are reminded once again of the importance of family - the source of life’s greatest joys and its deepest bonds. Our families are the foundation of our country as well as the inspirational force in each of our lives.  We are so blessed with the riches of loving families and friends, a beautiful state to call home, and the knowledge that we are truly a statewide community with an unbreakable bond. Not only is this approach good for the soul but it makes West Virginia the best place to work, live, and raise a family.

We truly have much to celebrate as this year's chapter comes to a close. Most recently, we have finally honored the promise this country made to our coal miners back in 1946 and secured the health care and pension benefits they earned through a lifetime of hard work. 

My Bipartisan American Miners Act has been included in the final funding package. It guarantees lifetime health care benefits for the 13,000 miners who would have lost their benefits entirely and the 92,000 miners who would have seen their pensions gutted next year without Congressional action.

This would not have happened without the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) and the thousands of coal miners who invested their time and energy, year after year, coming to Washington, walking the halls, and fighting for their brothers and sisters. It has been the honor of my life to lead this fight and bring together the coalition that made this possible. I also want to thank my colleagues, Democrats and Republicans, for making this a truly bipartisan effort. 

By working together across party lines, since 2016, we have been able to secure lifetime healthcare benefits for 36,000 and pensions for 92,000 miners and their families. This should be a reminder to us all that we can make this country better when we put partisan politics aside and focus on fixing the real problems facing the people we are here to represent. 

It is also a time to remember the brave men and women who have served and continue to serve our country in the military. Their sacrifices allow us to enjoy these blessings this holiday season. Let us keep them and their families in our hearts and prayers, not just during the holidays, but every single day. In fact, when visitors come to West Virginia, I jump at the chance to tell them we have mined the coal and forged the steel that built the guns, ships, and factories that have protected and continue to protect our country to this day. We have always done the heavy lifting and never complained. I am so deeply proud of what West Virginians have accomplished and what they will continue to accomplish to protect the freedoms we hold dear. 

Throughout the year, we are tested as a national community. This holiday season let us pray for peace, safety, and a greater understanding of one another.  My parents taught me that if you can count your blessings, you can share your blessings. That is why, during this holiday season, I encourage every West Virginian to share their blessings and generosity with those who may need a helping hand. May you spend this year’s waning days visiting loved ones, renewing old ties, forging new relationships, and sharing a hope among us all for a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year.


It has been an honor to come home to the Mountain State and celebrate an early Christmas gift to our miners. At long last, we put aside partisan politics and worked together to enact the Bipartisan American Miners Act into law.

Beginning with the Promise Kept Tour kickoff at the UMWA District 31 in Fairmont, I'll be visiting the UMWA Local 1440 in Matewan at 11 a.m. on Saturday and the UMWA Headquarters in Charleston at 10 a.m. on Monday. All are welcome to attend and join in the celebration of this Christmas miracle!






Regional Coordinator Brian Aluise brought Seasons Greetings on my behalf to the Alzheimer's Association's open house. Thank you all again for the great work you do every day.



This week, my staff attended the USDA's announcement that Wetzel and Tyler counties have been awarded $5.6 million to expand broadband access, which is vital for rural communities like those in West Virginia to compete in the 21st century. Throughout this application process my office has provided support to these counties and other applicants, providing resources and helping to ensure that they were competitive in this funding process. I am so proud that Wetzel and Tyler counties will now be able to ensure that rural communities in these counties have access to reliable broadband, no matter where people live. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I was also able to secure an additional $555 million for rural broadband infrastructure expansion through the USDA in the 2020 Appropriations package. The bill also ensures this funding will be targeted to areas of the country with the largest broadband coverage gaps, including those with challenging mountainous terrain, and directs USDA to make the application process easier and provide better assistance to applicants throughout the process. I will continue to advocate for funding that supports expanding reliable broadband access in rural areas and look forward to supporting the applicants for the additional funding available in January.



Regional Coordinator Brian Aluise shared holiday greetings with the West Virginia State University community and presented Dr. Anthony Jenkins with a flag and certificate thanking him for his years of service to this proud and richly historic university.



Regional Coordinator Mary Jo Guidi attended a lovely dedication made possible by the Bedway family for a new youth center adjacent to The House of the Carpenter in Wheeling.



Regional Coordinator Brian Aluise attended the ribbon cutting for the new Wood County Senior Center, providing an American and West Virginian flag for the special occasion.



Regional Coordinator Ali Mitchell presented the Greenbrier County Commission on Aging with an American flag.



To request assistance from my case team, click here.

As your U.S. Senator, I am proud to be your voice with government agencies during your time of need. My goal is for me and my staff to provide the best possible customer service for every West Virginian who contacts me needing assistance. While I have no direct jurisdiction in legal or administrative matters of any federal, state, or local agency, I welcome the opportunity to assist you in any way possible and to assure that full consideration is given to your case. See one of our recent success stories below:

Mr. Ernest Blatt from New Martinsville contacted the Senator regarding his efforts to obtain medals from his service in World War II. As a result of the Caseworker Amber McCartney's inquiry, the Navy Personnel Command was able to issue the following replacement medals: Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Good Conduct Medal, American Defense Service Medal, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, WWII Victory Medal, Navy Rifle, Honorable Discharge Button, and the Honorable Service Lapel Pin.



To inform our office of community events we can showcase, click here.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan Availability Announcement  

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced that Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and private nonprofit organizations located in Mingo County, West Virginia, as a result of drought beginning Oct. 15, 2019.

"This county is eligible because it is contiguous to one or more primary counties in Kentucky. The Small Business Administration recognizes that disasters do not usually stop at county or state lines. For that reason, counties adjacent to primary counties named in the declaration are included," said Kem Fleming, director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East.

Learn more here.

Social Security Phone Scam - Learn How to Protect Yourself  

Social Security employees do occasionally contact people--generally those who have ongoing business with the agency--by telephone for business purposes. However, Social Security employees will never threaten a person or promise a Social Security benefit approval, or increase, in exchange for information. In those cases, the call is fraudulent and people should not engage with the caller. If a person receives these calls, he or she should report the information to the OIG Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271 or online at

To watch a PSA about the scam, click here or visit for more information.

Social Security has recently worked with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission to create a new fraud prevention placemat to help you avoid Social Security scams. You can order free copies of the placemat to use at dining venues, or to share with friends and family. The placemat is in English on one side and Spanish on the other side.


To learn more, call my office Toll Free at (855) 275-5737, email me, or find me on social media: