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The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

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U.S. Senate Hopeful Visits Huntington

Cabell County is an important place to include in a statewide campaign, a United States Senate hopeful said during his  visit to Huntington on March 30.

“I’m from the northern panhandle of the state, so I’m pretty well known in that corridor, but when you get outside, I’m not as well known,” Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott said. “So, it’s imperative for me to spend as much time as possible in every other corner of the state.”

Elliott, a Democrat hoping to win the seat currently held by Senator Joe Manchin, said it was important to get young people involved in the political process. 

“I would love to meet some student Democrats who may or may not be participating in the process; you know, we need to get more young people in the process,” Elliott said.    “One thing I’ve observed from going around to all the state Democrat executive committees is the average age in a lot of these rooms is probably 70 or 80.”

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He said the involvement and participation of students and young people was imperative because those groups have more influence in the future than older generations. 

“We need to get young people tuned in because our young people have much more stake in the future than someone who’s already 80,” Elliott said. “You guys are going to be living here for a lot longer, and it’s important that we get things right now for your generation.”

While not agreeing with Elliott on many topics, a management and political science student who attended the event said he enjoyed seeing him in Huntington.

“As a Wheeling native, it was great to see Mayor Elliott in Huntington,” sophomore Michael Borsuk said. “He’s been mayor of my hometown for the last eight years, and he’s been a very active mayor.” 

One of the issues discussed by Elliott in his speech was the 2022 overturning of Roe v. Wade.

“I think the one issue which is going to be front and center of my campaign is restoring women’s reproductive rights across the country,” Elliott said. “Those rights were taken away with the Dobbs decision in 2022, and here in West Virginia, our governor and our legislature basically tripped over themselves, rushing to the finish line to make sure they passed one of the most regressive bans in the country.”

He said while abortion is a difficult issue to discuss, the reality created by the legislature is the opposite of what should be done.

“I recognize it’s a difficult issue, but the reality that we’ve created in this state is the exact last thing we need to be doing if we want to actually welcome families with children here, young people here,” Elliott said.  “I mean, we basically told women that we don’t trust them to make the best decisions for themselves and their families.” 

Elliot said he believes this ban sent a negative message to women in West Virginia. 

“Women are leaving the state to get reproductive care; some are not coming back,” Elliott said. “That’s not the message we should be sending to women, that they either somehow have lesser rights than men- you know, men have no consequences in the situation where their reproductive rights are at stake.”

Elliott also discussed student debt and how the high cost of education prevents some from following their passions. 

“If you want to do something like actually follow your passion, open your own business or do public interest work, sometimes those options aren’t even there if you have the types of debt payments that a lot of people do,” Elliott said. “We have to look at ways to make college and grad school more affordable.”

He said he was passionate about this issue due to his firsthand experience with student debt.

“I saw firsthand what student debt can do to you. When I graduated law school, I had roughly $200,000 in debt, and that very much limited my career options,” Elliott said. 

Borsuk said his previous interactions with Elliott showed he is willing to listen to constituents.

“Even though we do not agree politically on most topics, he is a decent person and will listen to your concerns,” Borsuk said.

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