By Andrea Billups-The Washington Times
CHARLESTON, W.Va. â€” Bobby Brock is keeping the promise he made to his family never to work in a coal mine. Many of his kinfolk have eked out a dangerous but steady living a mile underground in the darkness and chill, and Mr. Brock, who lost his uncle in the 2010 Upper Big Branch mine disaster, proudly defends their honor.
â€œEvery time you flip a light switch, thank a miner,â€ he says.
Mr. Brock, 48, who lives in Beckley, W.Va., in the heart of the stateâ€™s southern coalfields, is like many others here â€” angry at what he sees as a government in Washington determined to take away not only his livelihood but erode, with regulations and greed, a hardscrabble culture that has held families and mountain communities together for decades.
â€œMiners spend every day 6 inches from hell, and they do it for the love of their family and making a better way for them. Ainâ€™t that part of the American dream? Not if Obama has anything to do with it,â€ Mr. Brock argues. â€œI do not respect him or his party for what they are doing to this state.â€
Others who monitor policy and state politics are reluctant to lay all the industryâ€™s woes at the feet of the president, although it is clear President Obamaâ€™s energy policies have not helped him with Mountain State voters. Increasing environmental regulations and the call for â€œclean coalâ€ â€” a part of the Democratic platform at this monthâ€™s party convention in Charlotte, N.C. â€” have made this unfriendly electoral territory for Mr. Obama.
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