Marshall President Stephen Kopp and Kanawha County Commissioner Kent Carper both consider U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller a friend and both say they applaud the senior senator for his decision to step down when he feels he’s ready.
Carper’s known Rockefeller for more than 30 years.
“As a friend, I fully understand the Senator’s decision, accept it and will continue to support him in any way that I possibly can,” says Carper.
Those same sentiment came from Dr. Kopp.
“It’s always hard to walk away but I commend him for having the wisdom and the awareness that it’s time for him to step aside,” says Kopp.
Rockefeller announced his decision to not seek a 6th term in the Senate on Friday. He says, “I’ve gotten way out of whack in terms of the time I should spend with my wife and my children and my grandchildren.”
Kopp says Rockefeller’s decision will have an impact on West Virginia on the national stage.
“As a state, I think we’ll lose a lot of seniority in the Senate, that’s important,” explains Kopp.
The Marshall President says Rockefeller is a great asset to the state.
“He’s done a wonderful job serving the state of West Virginia and the U.S. Senate. That’s a wonderful legacy that he’s built.”
Carper agrees with Kopp, calling Rockefeller legendary.
“Sen. Rockefeller is not only a national figure, he’s an international figure,” says Carper. “So it’s a great loss to West Virginia.”
Carper credits Rockefeller with bringing the Toyota Plant to Putnam County, which now employs more than 1,000 workers. He says the Senator has also been influential in dozens of other projects in the Kanawha Valley in his nearly 30 years in Washington.
“He is what’s considered a “Lion of the Senate,” one of the folks who really has a special stature, very similar to that of the late Senator Byrd,” says Carper.
Carper says it’s important to continue to support Rockefeller through the end of his term in 2014.