More job opportunities, addressing poverty, the opioid epidemic, infrastructure and access to public water were the resonating themes when state Sen. Richard Ojeda traveled through McDowell and Mercer County on Saturday.

W.Va. Delegate Ed Evans, representing District 26, welcomed Ojeda to McDowell County where they toured local restaurants, met with local mayors and spoke with voters throughout the county. 

“McDowell County, West Virginia built this nation,” Ojeda said. “At one time, McDowell County had more millionaires than any other county in the state of West Virginia and now the local communities are being fed by food banks and have crumbling water systems and roads.”

In the United States, Ojeda said the way places like McDowell County have been forgotten and disregarded reflects on our nation’s priorities. More than half of the households in McDowell County have an income below $25,000. One in three families live in poverty. More than 60 percent of those families have children under the age of five. The residents have poor access to internet and phone access.

“When I look at McDowell County, it makes me even more sure about why I am running for Congress,” said Ojeda. “There are good people here. There are good local businesses here. But they haven’t had someone fighting for them in Washington in decades. If I go to D.C., McDowell County will always be at the front of my mind.”