PRESTONSBURG — Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes went to the heart of coal country Thursday night to talk to coal supporters about her jobs plan.
Grimes, 35, is the presumptive favorite to win the Democratic primary and then face off against five-term incumbent Republican Mitch McConnell. She addressed an enthusiastic crowd at the Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg, telling them about the jobs plan and that McConnell “has failed Kentucky” during an economic recession.
“As Kentucky’s next United States Senator my number one priority will be to put Kentuckians back to work in good-paying jobs,” she told the cheering crowd.
And just in case there was any question about her support for coal, Grimes said, “As your next United States Senator I will work with anyone who sides with coal.”
It was a well-received message and the choice of setting was no coincidence.
McConnell never misses a chance to link Grimes with President Barack Obama who is blamed in coal regions for the decline in the coal economy or to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who once said coal makes people sick.
But it would’ve been difficult to out-coal Grimes in her 36-minute speech Thursday night.
“Washington has proposed regulatory barrier after barrier that has driven our coal jobs down to unprecedented lows, inflicted pain in areas throughout Kentucky, in particularly in eastern Kentucky,” she told a loud cheering crowd of 500 or more.
“When I am in the United States Senate I will call on the president to do the right thing and to develop an energy plan that does not threaten the livelihood of Americans,” Grimes said. She said she will form alliances with other coal state lawmakers “to reign in the EPA.”
“Coal, it’s place in Kentucky and across the United States and the nation’s economy, it is not a partisan issue,” she continued. “As your next United States Senator I will work with anyone who sides with Kentucky and I will oppose anyone who tries to undercut our needs, our resources and our very values.”