This is an open letter to Evan Jenkins: Mr. Jenkins, I did not always agree with Congressman Rahall, but I felt that he was a strong advocate for the people of West Virginia. I cannot say the same about you, Mr. Jenkins.
You have been elected, but you will still need to prove your worth to the people of the third district through your actions.
Wishing to learn more about you I revisited your campaign page to see what you had to say. One of the things that disturbed me was your belief that coal “makes us who we are.” No, Mr. Jenkins, coal does not define us. We are more than that which we can be exploited for.
West Virginia will exist long after coal ceases to be a profitable energy source. Your seemingly single minded obsession with protecting the coal industry is a boon to those immediately benefiting from that industry, but a betrayal of our great state itself.
Mr. Jenkins, while you may be focused on re-election and pleasing the interests that bankrolled your attack ads, those cannot be your priorities. Your responsibility is to posterity.
West Virginia will suffer or prosper during my children’s generation based on what you choose to do here today. I fear that the people of West Virginia have put all of their eggs in one basket by putting too much stock in the coal industry.
The death of that industry is a certainty, regardless of what the EPA does, and you know this to be true. As coal supplies diminish and it becomes more costly to mine the out of state interests that bought our resources from under our feet will abandon us.
The future rests in other energy sources, but you, like a majority of West Virginia voters, insist on living in the past.
You cannot be short sighted in your duties. You have to acknowledge the reality of a West Virginia that is not reliant on the coal industry for jobs or tax revenue, and help prepare our state for that eventuality.
I did not vote for you, Mr. Jenkins, but I hope that you will do what’s right, not what’s politically advantageous. Our environment is the legacy that you are now sworn to protect. Let my children grow up and raise kids in a West Virginia with clean air to breathe and clean water to drink.
I implore you to disavow your corporate masters and serve now the people of West Virginia.