The political action committee of The West Virginia Coal Association has endorsed incumbent Gov. Jim Justice.
West Virginians for Coal, which is the political action committee, announced its endorsement today.
“Under Governor Justice’s leadership, he’s worked to protect the miners, increase coal production, and explore innovative ways to use coal for new products and downstream job opportunities,” stated Bill Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Association.
The coal association represents businesses in underground and surface coal mine production. Raney cited Justice’s family history in the mining industry in southern West Virginia.
“Like his father, Governor Justice knows the coal industry and totally understands our coal miners and managers and the challenges they face every day,” Raney stated.
“We know Governor Justice is the candidate who can be trusted to do everything in his power to fight and stand up for the hardworking men and women in our industry as well as all those throughout West Virginia.”
The political action committee for the United Mine Workers, which represents union miners, earlier this month endorsed Justice’s opponent, Democrat Ben Salango. The UMW had endorsed Justice five years ago.
“His family has UMWA roots and he understands the critical importance of the coal industry to our state,” the UMW stated in its endorsement of Salango.
A “Coal Miners For Trump” organizational event was taking place today. Raney described that event on MetroNews’ “Talkline,” saying officials from the incumbent president’s reelection campaign were available for a show of support from the coal mine industry.
The event was taking place on a barge at Amherst Industries.
— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) August 19, 2020
President Trump won heavy support in the 2016 election in West Virginia in part by expressing support for the coal industry.
“If they didn’t have ridiculous regulations that put you out of business and make it impossible for you to compete, I’m going to take that off,” Trump told a crowd in Charleston in 2016, when he donned a miner’s hardhat. “You are going to be proud of me.”
In 2016, there were more than 50,000 coal mining jobs in America. This past July, there were 45,000.
In 2016, production was 728 million short tons of coal. Last year, it was 705 million tons.
“He has delivered as much as he possibly can,” Raney said on “Talkline” today, blaming the Obama administration instead.
“The big thrust of all that reduction you’re talking about literally comes out of the policies that were created and put in place in the eight years of the Obama administration.”