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Manchin to meet with state religious leaders

Dec. 02, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

CHARLESTON -- While the debate over the so-called fiscal cliff rages on in Washington, D.C., Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., will meet with religious leaders from his home state this week to hear their thoughts on the topic.

The meeting will take place at 9:30 a.m. Monday, Dec. 3, at the John XXIII Pastoral Center on Hodges Road in Charleston.

The lead sponsor for the event is the West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition, and director Stephen N. Smith said he is eager to have the voices of West Virginia citizens be heard.

"Lost in the national debate are the voices of hard-working Americans who want nothing more than to feed their kids, keep their jobs and get a fair shot," he said. "With help from religious leaders, we want to bring the voices of the poor and working people to the fore."

Manchin will hear from Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball, resident bishop of the West Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church, Bishop Michael Bransfield of the Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston and Bishop Ralph Dunkin of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod. The senator also will hear testimonies from West Virginia families who will be affected by the possible loss of federal programs and benefits including CHIP, Medicaid, Pell grants and the child tax credit.

Other sponsors of the event are the West Virginia Council of Churches, the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, the West Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church and the West Virginia Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.

For more information about this event, contact Smith at ssmith@wvhealthykids.org.

The reception is free and open to the public.