Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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October 17, 2012

Endorsement: U.S. Senate, Virginia, Republican George Allen

— The Commonwealth of Virginia is certainly living up to its billing as a battleground state. In addition to playing a critical role in determining who the next president of the United States will be, the Nov. 6 contest between Republican George Allen and Democrat Tim Kaine also could determine which political party controls the U.S. Senate.

It’s a decision of monumental importance for voters in Southwest Virginia that should not be taken lightly. Both Kaine and Allen argued their cases last week before members of the Daily Telegraph’s editorial board. After intense discussion and repeated debate, we endorse Allen for the U.S. Senate seat.

Allen, the 67th governor of Virginia, was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2000. He began his professional career as a law clerk right here in Southwest Virginia. Allen has been an outspoken supporter of coal. He realizes that coal is our lifeblood not only in Southwest Virginia, but also southern West Virginia. He realizes that coal is still responsible for keeping the lights on in America.

Allen is campaigning on a platform of common sense — something we’ve seen little of in Washington in recent months. He doesn’t believe green energy can replace coal overnight. He is concerned about the national deficit. He is concerned about the new federal health care law that many Americans still oppose or simply don’t understand.

As governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Allen was able to build bipartisan bridges. He was able to work with Democrats and Republicans alike. It’s a skill he will take back with him to Washington.

George Allen isn’t perfect. We realize that. He’s made mistakes in the past, including a crippling political blunder six years ago that essentially put incumbent U.S. Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., in office. But we all make mistakes. All we can do is ask for forgiveness and move on. Allen has done that. And he is now fighting for the betterment of his state, and his country.

Tim Kaine is a good candidate. He also served as governor of Virginia, and he’s impressive on the campaign trail. He’s a likable guy. However, as chairman of the Democratic National Party, Kaine was in a unique position of incredible power. His political party controlled both houses of Congress and the White House. He had the ability and the responsibility to set his party’s political agenda. And, unfortunately, an anti-coal agenda was chosen.

Thousands of jobs have been lost across the coalfields over the past four years as a result of that decision and thousands more are still being threatened by this questionable political agenda, and by a president who once promised to bankrupt coal-fired plants while campaigning for the country’s highest office. And that’s a shame. Killing thousands of good-paying coal-mining jobs isn’t the way to stimulate a still troubled economy. Kaine should have known better as DNC chairman.

By electing George Allen to the U.S. Senate, we can send a strong message to Washington and to the current administration. And we can take another important step forward in ending this senseless war on coal.

When voters across Southwest Virginia head to the polls on Nov. 6, we urge them to cast a ballot for George Allen. Doing so is not only a vote in support of coal, but also a plea for a return to sanity in Washington.

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