But he acknowledges the role that assistance played in helping him get a leg up.
"I can see it from both sides of the fence," he says.
Ninety miles north in Charleston, upriver from the state Capitol, The Cold Spot serves hot garlic wings in multiples of six, tempered by pitchers of beer. In theory, there's a president out there tonight delivering a State of the Union speech. But inside the bar, the sets are tuned to West Virginia University basketball. Cheers go up when the Mountaineers triumph, 66-64.
With the game over, Brian Snyder, who runs a one-man glass business, takes a moment to consider economic inequities. Increasing assistance to the poor isn't fair because it will raise taxes on everyone else, he says. People should have to earn everything they get. "The gap keeps on growing and it's not right at all," says Snyder, who is 43 and used to employ others in his business until times got tighter. But he's certain most politicians are so disconnected from the lives of ordinary Americans, they aren't capable of fixing it.
"What would I do if I were president?" Snyder says. He looks around the bar to the tables and stools filled with chemical plant workers, a septic truck driver, and an ultrasound technician who moonlighted as a waitress to pay down student loans.
"I'd fire everyone in the House and the Senate," Snyder says, "and put working class people in who actually know what it's like to be out here."
Adam Geller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/adgeller.