Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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October 23, 2012

Endorsement: President of the United States, Republican Mitt Romney

The past few years have been far from easy for America. We’ve been through two wars, and a crippling financial storm known as the Great Recession. Four years ago, millions of Americans were hungry for hope and desperate for change.

A youthful candidate by the name of Barack Obama promised that change, appealing to both young and old alike. His experience, and record, was a little lacking in terms of his qualifications to assume the position of commander in chief, but his oratory skills on the campaign trail were undeniable. We took a chance on President Barack Obama despite a number of red flags. For example, he promised to bankrupt coal-fired power plants while on the campaign trail. That’s probably why West Virginia overwhelming voted in support of fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton over Obama during the May 2008 primary, and then Republican John McCain in November 2008 — despite the fact that the number of registered Democrats in West Virginia still far outnumber those who are registered Republicans.

However, for the first time in more than 40 years, the neighboring Commonwealth of Virginia voted for a Democrat for president, helping Barack Obama to achieve the Electoral College math needed to win the presidency. When all was said and done, Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, and the White House. But it didn’t take long for things to begin to sour.

We were told the $787 billion federal stimulus package would largely be used to rebuild our nation’s crumbling infrastructure — new roads, bridges, water, sewer, broadband and schools — as part of a plan to get the economy moving again. But we later learned that millions upon millions of dollars were instead awarded to green energy projects — many of which would later go bankrupt or fail to produce a significant number of new jobs. In fact, millions upon millions were wasted on unproven green energy projects like solar panels while critical infrastructure needs such as the King Coal Highway and the Coalfields Expressway were ignored. Shameful!

As the economic crisis continued to grow — and millions more were still without work — Obama chose to ignore the emergency at hand and instead came to a Kroger store right here in Southwest Virginia to stump for his controversial health care reform package. Soon, the passage of the Affordable Health Care Act — later dubbed by critics as ObamaCare — became the sole objective of Obama and the Democratic controlled House and Senate. The debate divided America, and at the worse possible time. When we needed a president and a Congress who would fight to lift us out of a painful recession, they were too busy working to pass a health care law that many Americans still oppose or simply don’t understand.

And let’s don’t forget about coal. How can we? This administration from day one has waged a deplorable crusade to kill coal mining jobs, and to close coal-fired power plants, through a politically motivated Environmental Protection Agency. Although several federal court rulings found that the EPA clearly overstepped its boundaries, the EPA is unrelenting — appealing those rulings to the U.S. Supreme Court of Appeals.

Some will tell you there isn’t a war on coal. They will argue it’s just a lot of rhetoric intended to hurt Obama. Those who make such foolish statements certainly don’t live here in the coalfields of southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia. If they did, they would see first-hand all of the coal miners and their families who are unemployed and hurting, and the others who don’t know if they will be working from one day to the next. They would hear from the 200 Norfolk Southern Corp. employees who were furloughed just last week due to decreased coal traffic. They would see the impact the closure of coal-fired power plants are having on small communities like Glen Lynn, Va. They would realize the impact this war on coal will have on our future electric bills.

Yes, the war on coal is real. It’s very real. And it has to be stopped.

Republican Mitt Romney is the man who will end this war. He has embraced coal, natural gas and our other naturally abundant fossil fuels. He advocates a common-sense national energy policy that will put millions of Americans back to work. An energy policy that includes coal, oil, natural gas and — yes — even green energy sources.

Romney is a job creator. He always has been. If elected on Nov. 6, he is our best chance to get America’s still struggling economy back on track, and to help those millions of Americans who are still unemployed get back into the work force. Mitt Romney will not close coal mines and coal-fired power plants. He will fight for coal. He will fight for natural gas. He will stand up for America. He is our best hope for a more prosperous future.

When voters in West Virginia and the battleground state of Virginia head to the polls on Nov. 6, we implore them to cast a ballot for Mitt Romney. A vote for Romney is not only a vote for coal miners and their families across southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia, it’s also a vote for a brighter future for America.

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