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Coal Miners Back Grimes

Alison Lundergan Grimes campaigning in Paducah, Kentucky. (Photo: Berry Craig)

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., keeps claiming Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democrat who wants his job, is Barack Obama’s faithful ally in the president’s “war on coal.”

I wish a reporter would ask the Senator a simple question: If Grimes really is a coal warrior, why has the United Mine Workers of America endorsed her?

Obviously grateful for the union nod, the Grimes campaign emailed a UMWA release announcing its support for Grimes, who the Kentucky State AFL-CIO endorsed last December.

In the release, UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts said, “Ms. Grimes has been a steadfast friend of our members and their families during her tenure as Secretary of State. She has lived up to her commitments to Kentucky working families time and time again, and been a tireless advocate on their behalf.”

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Added Roberts: "Ms. Grimes is not only a strong supporter of coal and the coal industry, she is the only candidate in this race who is also a supporter of coal miners. She cares about their health and safety on the job.

“She cares about what happens to them once they retire after a career of dangerous, backbreaking work. She cares about what happens to their families, and what can be done to make their communities stronger.

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“Miners need a strong voice on their behalf in Washington. That is exactly what Alison Lundergan Grimes will be.”

The announcement also quoted UMWA Secretary-Treasurer Dan Kane who said McConnell, who thinks unions are a close encounter of the worst kind, recently passed up a chance to help retired miners and miners’ widows when he voted against a bill that would have provided funding to help secure the pensions and health care of more than 12,000 retirees in Kentucky.

Said Kane: “Sen. McConnell had a golden opportunity to support retired miners and their dependents in Kentucky, but instead chose to vote against them. Ms. Grimes has made it clear that she supports helping these retirees. We need her voice and her leadership in the Senate."

Berry Craig

Berry Craig