CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Former West Virginia coal miner and recently announced 2018 U.S. Senate GOP candidate Bo Copley shared his campaign vision on MetroNews “Talkline” Wednesday morning.
Copley became well known when he confronted then-Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during her visit to West Virginia last year about her stance on the coal industry. The Mingo County resident was laid off in 2015 by an Arch Coal subsidiary where he worked as a maintenance planner.
“I just want to know how you can say you’re going to put a lot of coal miners out of jobs and then come in here and tell us you’re going to be our friend,” Copley told Clinton. “Because those people out there don’t see you as a friend”.
Copley said on “Talkline” Wednesday he still cannot understand how U.S. Senator Joe Manchin could support Clinton while representing West Virginia after her remarks about the coal industry.
“I wish we could quit seeing these politicians that think they know what we’re going through, and they really don’t”, Copley said. “How can you be that far off of your base and your constituents and still think you can represent them.”
Copley believes he is relatable to West Virginians because of his coal mining background and will represent the state well. He said he’s tired of politicians in office who cannot relate to West Virginians and who break campaign promises.
“I’ve walked a mile in steel toes, literally. I’ve worn steel toes and a hard hat not as a photo op, it was part of the requirement for my job,” he said.
The 40-year-old is also guided strongly by his faith, stating he has been guided by God to run for U.S. Senate. Bursting with confidence, Copley said he knows he can win.
“I wouldn’t be in this if God wasn’t telling me to do it, and we wouldn’t be in it if we didn’t think we could win. I’m a firm believer that God is going to have the right people in my path at the right time”.
Copley also has strong opinions about current political topics, such as the health care. He believes the answer is compromise through a nonpartisan perspective. Regardless of political standpoint, some West Virginians will be left out.
“We’re not Republicans or Democrats, we’re West Virginians”, he said. “It can’t be solved with a partisan issue, it needs to be bipartisan. What parts of this new bill work, and what parts don’t.”
Still unemployed, Copley considers helping fellow West Virginians and campaigning as his full-time job. In terms of his campaign, his calls his organization “grassroots” consisting of family, friends and faith.
“We’re small in numbers, but we have the right backing. We have a lot of support everywhere that I’ve gone and talked. It doesn’t matter where we go, that’s the kind of response we’ve gotten.”
Copley is one of three people to announce their plans to seek the Republican nomination next year. State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Third District Congressman Evan Jenkins have already started campaigning.
Manchin, a Democrat, is running for re-election while Democrat Paula Jean Swearengin has also announced her candidacy.