By BILL ARCHER
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
TAZEWELL, Va. — Click here for video
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., left the Mountain State for a while on Thursday, traveling south of the state border into the Commonwealth of Virginia to stump for his friend, former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, the Democratic Party candidate for the U.S. Senate seat made vacant when incumbent U.S. Senator Jim Webb, D-Va., chose not to seek re-election.
Pyott-Boone Electronics was among the stops Manchin and Kaine made in the Old Dominion. The two men toured the plant that makes high-tech tracking electronics for use in underground coal mining as well as several other advanced electronic components for underground mining and other fields.
Christa Glassburn, chief operating officer as well as Stuart J. Champion de Crespigny, chief executive officer of Pyott-Boone, conducted a tour of the plant for Manchin and Kaine. As Glassburn and de Crespigny explained the technical application of the products, Manchin was able to provide a practical application as to how the new technology works in coal mines, as well as the specific events that led to the development.
“We didn’t have this technology when the Sago and Aracoma mine disasters occurred,” Manchin said, making references to two West Virginia mine tragedies that took place in January 2006. “We had 47 mine rescuers ready to go in Aracoma, but we had to wait because we didn’t have this technology,” Manchin said.
“This is the kind of a place where people know everyday that they’re doing something important,” Kaine said.
Manchin and Kaine spoke with more than 45 PBE employees who stayed after work to hear what they had to say. “We’re very proud of what you’re doing for mine safety,” Manchin told the PBE employees. Manchin said that he came to Tazewell, “because I need help in the U.S. Senate. I need a friend who understands the coal industry.”
Kaine added that he was equally proud of the “very, very important work” that the PBE employees do, and talked about the efforts he made as governor to ensure that Dominion’s Virginia City Hybird Energy Center in Wise County, Va., would be a state-of-the-art coal-fired power plant. “Let’s see what a pro-innovation coal future looks like,” he said. He said that the thing that impressed people from other countries about the United States “is that we’re winners,” he said. He also asked for their support in November.
A few PBE employees asked questions of Manchin and Kaine. They answered, and emphasized that they planned to work together to make progress in the U.S. Senate. “I’m here because this guy will put his country before his politics,” Manchin said.