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Candidates, miners talk coal at rally

Sep. 29, 2012 @ 11:32 PM

ROME TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- More than 100 people came out in support of the coal industry and Republican presidential and congressional candidates during a rally Saturday afternoon at the Lawrence County Fairgrounds.

However, for event volunteers like Sandy Joseph of Rome Township, the legwork began much earlier in the day.

She and event volunteers met up with a group of coal miners from Boone and Lincoln counties in West Virginia at about 9:30 a.m. to go door-to-door campaigning for both the industry and the candidates who Joseph said support it the most.

"We received a largely positive response," Joseph said. "Our goal is to get the word out about this president and how his policies have hurt the coal miners and their families in the past four years. Some of these coal mines are penalized thousands of dollars every day just for the way they operate, and these companies are suffering while the miners risk their lives every day to provide us with energy."

Speakers at the event included several coal miners and Republican candidates for local, state and national races, and Deneen Borelli, author of "Blacklash: How Obama and the Left Are Driving Americans to the Government Plantation."

The group of more than a dozen miners also attended a rally protesting the energy policies of President Barack Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency in Charleston before coming to Lawrence County on Saturday.

Kristi Jeffrey of Logan was part of the group of miners who made the journey to Ohio to campaign for the industry, and she said she has taken a very keen interest in each candidate's stance on energy.

"The current administration is waging this war on coal, and 'war' is not a word I take lightly. It's not something the 3,000 people in my community take lightly, either," Jeffrey said in a speech during the rally. "Coal is part of the future of our communities and our energy system. A country with a strong energy plan is a strong country, and I don't think that is what we have right now."

Joseph said she hoped everyone takes the opportunity to seek out as much information as they can to make an informed decision this election year.

"We want to make sure people have as much information as possible about the industry and the candidates," Joseph said. "We need a president that has the best interests of all of the people in our country, especially people in Appalachia, which is what we're focusing on today."



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