Monday, June 28, 2010

"It was a great ride, Senator Byrd."

The first time I remember hearing about Senator Robert C. Byrd was in my 9th. grade American History Class. Mrs. Triolo was explaning the political process. She told us she would never tell anyone who to vote for but she explained what would happen if Senator Byrd was elected one more time (this was in 1975).

She said he would have enough senority if elected to become Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. She also pointed out that he would be able to be the Senate Majority Leader but that he would turn down that post for the job with the Appropriations Committee. The reason for this was so that he could funnel money to West Virginia. And funnel money he did. He became known as the "Prince of Pork" a name which didn't bother him in the slightest because he knew he was helping West Virginia.

Because of Senator Byrd West Virginia was moved into not only the 20th. century but also the 21st. century. Because of him West Virginia is not the state of my youth which was the butt of so many jokes. If you listen to the pundits they will tell you that the money he sent to us was wasted but I can tell you that it was not. I know for a fact that Corridor G in Southern West Virginia (my hometown) opened up not only West Virginia but Eastern Kentucky as well. This road connected small rural towns in WV to major WV cities which not only helped the small towns and the people in them but the cities as well. A drive that took 31/2 hours when I was a kid now takes 45 minutes.

He is also responsible for numerous education programs at Marshall University as well as WVU. The bridges, roads and buildings he helped fund not only provided jobs but improved the lives of those who lived near them. The far reaching implications of the education programs will be felt for generations. He also got the money to rebuild the Green Bank Telescope. One of the largest telescopes in the world which helps scientists all over the world to study astronomy. There was already a telescope there but it collapsed in the 80's due to age and disrepair.

Thank You Senator Byrd for all you did for us. You will be missed.

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