Campaign links: Sue Thorn (D-WV-1)
Susan Carol “Sue” Thorn
Sue Thorn Congressional Candidate West Virginia District 1
Biography of Sue Thorn from Citizens to Elect Sue Thorn Congress 2012
“I’m Sue Thorn. People throughout West Virginia’s 1st Congressional District have been asking me to run for Congress. Some are friends I’ve known for years, but most are people who have told me their stories as I’ve traveled throughout the state. They are stories of workers who struggle to get ahead as their wages and benefits decline, of proud seniors who are embarrassed to admit they cannot afford the medicines and food they need, of veterans, who return after risking their lives in combat, to the stress of not finding a living wage job and the medical care they need. These conversations have convinced me of the need for a change in representation in Washington.
I live in a log cabin that has a special meaning for my family. My grandfather and great grandfather worked for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the Great Depression and this cabin was built by WPA workers who, like my family, survived on the work provided by the government. The WPA was just one of many Great Depression relief programs created under the auspices of the Emergency Relief Appropriations Act, which President Roosevelt implemented. The WPA, the Public Works Administration (PWA) and other federal assistance programs put unemployed Americans to work in return for temporary financial assistance. Out of the 10 million jobless men in the United States in 1935, 3 million were helped by WPA jobs alone. These jobs weren’t handouts. These workers built infrastructure and public facilities we still appreciate and use today.
My dad’s work as a union electrician in a United Steel Workers plant enabled my family to join the middleclass. When I was in grade school, my mom returned to college and became a teacher.
I came to Wheeling in the ’80s when many people my age were leaving WV. We moved into our cabin when our older daughter was 2 and just before our younger daughter was born. This was a wonderful place for our girls to grow up, whether they were roller blading in the living room or building a tree house in the back yard. My 4 year old granddaughter is the newest generation to roast marshmallows in the fireplace and curl up in a sleeping bag in front of it when the power goes out.
Over the years I’ve worked throughout WV’s 1st District bringing people together to work on issues that impact their lives. I was thrilled when I was able to combine my faith and what I do for a living as a congregation-centered organizer. Through this work I united people from diverse faiths to understand that their destinies are intertwined and only by working together could they build the power to improve their neighborhoods and community.
I was also previously employed by Organizing for America. I, like Senator Robert C. Byrd, former Governor Joe Manchin and the entire WV Democratic Delegation and Party found great promise in Senator Barack Obama. After he succeeded in his Presidential Campaign, I longed to see his message of Hope and Change become reality. Although the President has accomplished some of what I envisioned occurring, I determined earlier this year that I could be more effective working outside the confines of Organizing for America.
Like most of you, I’ve grown tired of politics and Washington games and I often think they just want us to give up. I’ve been from Parkersburg to Petersburg and up to Weirton and it’s clear to me that you’re frustrated. I get that. I’m frustrated too. I’m frustrated when politicians ignore the issues that are impacting people’s lives, while pretending to do something they want us to believe is important. We’ve watched the middle class being attacked for decades and I wonder whether our children and grandchildren will ever experience the security I knew when I was growing up. We have always done well as a nation when our middle class does well, because the middle class is the economic engine that fires this country. Why should the rich get richer and the rest of us get poorer when it is our work that creates their wealth? We can’t give up! That’s what they want us to do.
People have been asking me to run for Congress and here’s what I’ve done. I went out and bought a pair of American-made shoes and they fit great. I’m running! Are you running with me?”