Grimes’ attacks on McConnell show her unready for Senate job

by Brian Patton

December 11, 2013

Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes seems like a nice enough person, but her recent attack on Mitch McConnell’s’ record on coal shows that she not qualified for the office she seeks.

As a 4th generation miner and a lifetime member of the Kentucky Coal family, I can tell you that Sen. McConnell has been the number one champion of our industry. He recently even invited me to Washington, D.C. where he and I attended an EPA hearing to personally tell them how their harmful regulations are hurting miners and our families here in Kentucky.

And since the EPA refuses to visit Eastern Kentucky to hear our voices, Sen. McConnell again displayed true leadership by coming to the University of Pikeville last Friday to hold a listening session, where Kentucky miners and their families had the opportunity to tell the senator our personal stories of just how severely the liberal’s War on Coal has impacted our lives. Sen. McConnell’s genuine compassion and his proven will to fight on our behalf, coupled with his influence as the Senate Minority Leader, proved once again that he understand our dire situation and has our backs in a Washington, D.C. ruled by those who could care less.

For Alison to claim that Mitch isn’t a champion for coal shows that she is either willing to say anything to score political points, or that she is sorely lacking when it comes to the facts. Neither of which are acceptable qualities for someone seeking to represent Kentucky as our foremost advocate on the national and international stage.

Mitch McConnell has delivered time and again for Kentucky coal. Under his leadership, the Senate was able to block and defeat the so-called ‘Cap and Trade’ legislation. But, the liberals pushing this anti-coal scheme have not backed away from their goal, and many have opened their pocketbooks to fill Alison’s campaign coffers. It is tough to call yourself pro-coal when your big donors say otherwise.

Mitch secured funds for laid-off and disabled miners, protected their health benefits and passed the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act, which has improved working conditions for all miners.

Senator McConnell has also been a champion of economic development, research and the export of clean coal technology. He blocked President Obama’s anti-coal nominees to important governmental positions where they could have done us harm and he has consistently and forcefully pushed back against excessive and harmful regulations.

Just this summer, Mitch introduced the Saving Coal Jobs Act of 2013 to streamline the EPA’s permitting process and prohibit any new carbon emissions standards on new or existing power plants. This bill would have done tremendous good for Kentucky and gotten our people back to work, but it was immediately blocked by the Senate Democrat Leader, Harry Reid.

The same Harry Reid who says, “coal makes you sick.”

The same Harry Reid who is raising big bucks for Alison Lundergan Grimes in Las Vegas and in Washington, D.C.

And, the same Harry Reid who Alison would vote for leader of the United States Senate if she were to somehow get there.

Thus, Alison Lundergan Grimes is simply not being honest. Mitch McConnell is a bona fide champion of coal and she has a lot of explaining to do.

Alison needs to explain to us how she can claim that she is pro-coal when those bankrolling her say otherwise and see her election as key to reviving their liberal ‘War on Coal.’ And she also needs to explain why she has no record of supporting coal or coal causes, or even speaking out on our behalf in any meaningful way – until, of course, she decided to run for Senate and advance her own political career.

Also, and perhaps most importantly, Alison needs to explain how she can say she is a friend of coal when her very election would ensure that an anti-coal liberal from the West would run the Senate rather than a proven, pro-coal Kentuckian.

The truth is, Alison Lundergan Grimes can’t explain these away, and her silly attacks on Mitch won’t change that. If standing up for coal, coal jobs and coal families is a priority for you, then you have only one true advocate and one clear choice in next year’s Senate race: re-elect Mitch McConnell.

Brian Patton is president of all surface operations for James River Coal Company.