MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin kicked off his town hall tour in Martinsburg this morning.
The event reached capacity almost immediately. There literally was not a seat in the house – and many attendees even attempted to sit on the floor.
Although the crowd lacked seats, they certainly did not lack passion.
“You would be a hero to the people of West Virginia and the people of the U.S. if you introduced 676 [H.R Expanded & Improved Medicare for all] in the Senate” proclaimed one man.
Though healthcare reform seemed to be the focus of the day, Manchin touched on topics ranging from the opioid epidemic, environmental concerns and the importance of remaining moderate in a period of political division and extremes -- before fielding questions from the audience.
"[It took] real courage to come here not knowing what he was going to hear or the reception he was going to get I think he stands out in the group of representatives who have chosen not to attend town halls,” said Dr. Dawn Jones, Chief Medical Officer at Shenandoah Community Health Center
Things did get heated at times, but most in attendance said they simply respected the Senator for making the time to show up.
"Well I just think I go in, good bad or indifferent. It's my schedule and I just thought it was so important that I canceled everything to be here this week,” said Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)
Manchin said he initially scheduled the town halls for April, but rescheduled them for this week after healthcare reform started moving so quickly.
Manchin urged citizens to reach out to the White House to express any concerns they may have directly. "Like it or not…good bad or indifferent” President Trump is the “voice” for this country," explained Sen. Manchin.
Manchin will also host town hall events in Charleston, Huntington and Morgantown this week.