MORGANTOWN — Monongalia County Commissioner Tom Bloom said the Monday evening phone call was unexpected, but welcome.
“I received a phone call late Monday night and was invited by Sen. Manchin’s office to see if I would represent the state of West Virginia and him as his virtual guest,” he said.
The invite secured Bloom a spot in a virtual reception put on by the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee ahead of Wednesday’s joint session of Congress.
“I’m honored to have Monongalia County Commissioner Tom Bloom as my virtual guest for the Joint Session of Congress,” Manchin said in a tweet Wednesday. “Local leaders like Tom will have an unprecedented opportunity to invest in COVID relief, water, sewer, & broadband infrastructure thanks to the #AmericanRescuePlan.”
Bloom said the reception provided an opportunity to interact with other participants and hear from Jon Favreau, the former head speech writer for President Barack Obama.
“I was honored. And why I was so honored was more about what it said about the Monongalia County Commission and Monongalia County and what we’ve been able to accomplish and how we’ve been able to succeed,” Bloom said. “That’s why I immediately jumped at it. I thought it was a great opportunity to talk to other individuals who have the same questions and concerns that we have.”
Bloom has credited Manchin for his work on the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which is expected to bring just under $20.5 million to Monongalia County and a combined $14.58 million to the municipalities within the county.
Manchin visited the county commission earlier this month to tout the plan, which puts money directly in the hands of local government.
Bloom said he raised that point during Wednesday’s event.
“We’re going to be able to do some amazing things with this money,” Bloom said. “I said I was very proud of Sen. Manchin for allowing it to come to the local government so we can make our own decisions without having to ask anyone else how to use the money.”