WV Coal Association annual meeting was the venue for politics this weekend….. Friday’s informal gathering found the leading characters on the mountain…..the only U. S. Senate candidate on hand was Governor Manchin…..he and First Lady Gayle were a hit…..as a team and on the dance floor.
Congressional candidates were everywhere…..Spike Maynard of the 3rd District was the first to arrive…..he is a ‘friend of coal’ and found much praise for entering the battle…..the current 3rd District Rep Nick Joe Rahall keep a low profile…..until the band ask why he was not dancing?
The likely new WV Governor Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin came early and left late…..everyone wanted his ear…..House Speaker Richard Thompson who is eyeing the Governor’s seat was in campaign mode. They appeared on an 8AM panel Saturday…..unlike Washington it was civil.
Coal members lined up to greet Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito & Charlie…..she has been speaking out for WV’s coal economy in Congress…..the majority opinion was Capito did the right thing…..not seeking the short term Senate seat…..a future race in 2012 still in question.
Not to be out done…..First District candidates were working as well…..GOP candidate David McKinley was at the dinner…..Senator Mike Oliverio who in May killed the giant Rep. Mollohan…..spent the entire day Saturday with coal leaders.
Back to the Legislative panel…..Delegate Thomas Campbell (D-Greenbrier) and Senator Walt Helmick (D-Pocahontas) joined Tomblin and Thompson to discuss state legislative issues. An informative session….. with these heavy hitters.
Coal leaders were pleased Delegate Kevin Craig (D-Cabell) who serves on the House Energy Committee took the time to attend……the new GOP Chair Mike Stuart arrived Saturday night.
Gary White was confirmed as the association’s Chairman…..there is no one more respected by state leaders in and out of government…..his ability will serve the coal industry well…..as they confront huge issues at home and in Washington.