Joe Manchin III was born and raised in the small coal town of Farmington, West Virginia.
After attending West Virginia University on a football scholarship, Manchin became a successful businessman. As a member of the state legislature from 1982 to 1996, he worked to improve schools, protect veterans and senior citizens, and create jobs. Manchin served as secretary of state from 2000 to 2004. He also served from 2000 to 2004 as president of his local Marion County Rescue Squad.
Elected governor in 2004, Manchin took responsibility for improving the economic climate in West Virginia to retain and create good paying jobs with health care benefits for the state’s workforce, as well as to reduce the state’s long-term debt. He also was committed to ensuring a seamless education system, providing prescription drug assistance for seniors, and strengthening the support structure for veterans.
While governor, Manchin was an active leader on the national scene, serving as chair of the Democratic Governors Association and Southern Governors’ Association.
Following the June 28, 2010 death of Robert C. Byrd—the longest-serving U.S. Senator in American history—Manchin appointed Carte Goodwin to fill the resulting vacancy pending a special election. Manchin declared his candidacy for the seat and won the special election.