Tom Perriello Can’t Answer Questions On Coal In Coal Country

It’s primary season in Virginia. While it can be somewhat entertaining to watch as Republicans beat each other bloody, sometimes it is necessary to check out our opponents. This year Democrats are having their own Sharks and Jets routine going on in the gubernatorial race. It was supposed to be smooth, easy sailing for the low-key Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam, a genteel pediatric neurologist who had the endorsements, the money, and grassroots support locked up.

Enter, stage left — and by left I mean so far left that he’s flip-flopped on previously-held issues and embraced the left’s agenda — former 5th District Congressman Tom Perriello.

Tom Perriello left the State Department to come back to Virginia and run for Governor. Ralph thought everything was okay. Then socialist darling Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders endorsed “Tom Perioli” (he meant Perriello). That was followed by the endorsement of John Podesta, campaign chair for Hillary Clinton. Then came poll numbers that showed them in a dead heat for the Democratic nomination. Then came George Soros’ money, with some additional help, to the tune of $2.2 million. It’s a dead heat in this race.

So last week Tom Perriello decided to campaign in Southwest Virginia. While I usually applaud candidates for campaigning there, the former Congressman appeared to be so tone-deaf and so unaware of the needs of that part of the Commonwealth that it wouldn’t bother me if he never went back.

Here’s a video:

Mental health professionals for clean energy? Not mentioning coal?

While I’m all for funding the medical needs of Southwest Virginia (without Medicaid expansion), how in the world is that what we need? We need jobs, real jobs that pay real money. We need engineers, welders, mechanics, and more importantly, we need business people who can create jobs in the area. Most of all, we need to revitalize the coal industry to provide good paying jobs to all of Southwest Virginia.

In addition, we need to revitalize the coal industry to provide good-paying jobs. Why can’t the Congressman answer the question on coal? Is it because he voted for the Cap and Trade legislation while in the House, which killed thousands of coal jobs? Is it because George Soros told him he couldn’t talk about coal, lest he wouldn’t give Mr. Perriello any money? Or did Bernie make him promise that he had to denounce coal to get his endorsement?

No matter the excuse, it’s incredibly tone-deaf to not mention coal in Southwest Virginia. It’s like being a presidential candidate and not mentioning corn in Iowa. Coal mining is a way of life, not just a campaign soundbite. Coal doesn’t provide jobs for just the miners, it provides jobs for everyone. Coal miners need to buy groceries, buy clothes, and buy homes. These are issues that can determine if someone is able to send their child to college, provide a better life for their children, or just simply put food on the table.

This is something that should be considered a disqualification of Mr. Perriello. If he can’t talk about bringing jobs to Southwest Virginia, he has no business being the Governor of Virginia.

  • Turtles Run

    In addition, we need to revitalize the coal industry to provide good-paying jobs.

    Exactly how is that supposed to occur? Coal is not competitive in price with natural gas and is a much dirtier fuel which requires costly equipment to reduce the pollution footprint (reduce not eliminate). I read coal industry publications and even they are very skeptical about returning jobs – automation and shrinking energy footprint are among the reasons for the decline in jobs that has been occurring since the 1970’s. As for renewables like wind and solar the economics make even less sense for coal.

    No politician can realistically talk about bringing back coal jobs, those that do are simply lying to you. Is that what you really want?

    Matt Suarez

    • John Jones

      Coal employs about 4,500 miners in VA and about 80k nationally. Renewable energy directly employs 800K nationally and another 3M in the “sustainability” industry.

  • stephan011

    Maybe Virginia can follow Kentucky’s lead, even the Kentucky Coal Museum is switching to solar:

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/04/08/even-kentucky-coal-museum-going-solar/100205662/

    And coal mining companies are putting up solar now:

    “Coal company plans huge solar farm on strip mine”
    http://www.courier-journal.com/story/tech/science/environment/2017/04/18/coal-company-plans-huge-solar-farm-strip-mine/100597672/

  • Jerel C. Wilmore

    In the not so distant future, the only coal that will be mined in the United States will be coking coal used in the manufacture of steel.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coke_(fuel)

  • AnninVA26

    Socialists and progressives don’t believe in coal. As O said…prices of electricity from coal will “necessarily skyrocket”. This isn’t about people, it’s about the greater good and too many people around muck up the greater good.

  • MD Russ

    “No matter the excuse, it’s incredibly tone-deaf to not mention coal in
    Southwest Virginia. It’s like being a presidential candidate and not
    mentioning corn in Iowa.”

    More accurately, it is like being a presidential candidate and not mentioning ethanol in Iowa, a debunked energy program whereby food is diverted to the production of carbon-generating fuel that costs more than fossil fuel while raising the prices of everything in the food chain from beef and milk to baked goods.

    I find it interesting that we can rightfully criticize Donald Trump for promising to bring back coal jobs (he can’t) and then turn around and criticize Tom Perriello for not making the same pie-in-the-sky false promises. Coal jobs are gone and they aren’t coming back any more than buggy whip factory jobs. The objective of coal families for the past two or three generations has been for their children to get a good education so that they wouldn’t have to go to work in the mines. And that horizontal mobility of the workforce is what will save the economy of southwest Virginia, not 19th Century jobs with their black lung disease, cave-in threats, and environmental destruction.

  • Rick_Sincere

    To bring jobs to coal country in Southwest Virginia, open an Arby’s restaurant. Arby’s employs more people in the United States than the entire coal industry does.

  • Jerel C. Wilmore

    There is a government agency devoted to economic development in Appalachia (which is mostly coal country): the Appalachian Regional Commission (“ARC”). The Trump administration is planning to eliminate the ARC.

    https://www.arc.gov/

  • Downstater

    Tom: “well, a mobile home manufacturer ought to do really well right here, given the demand” Chortle Chortle.

  • jeff1776

    “Most of all, we need to revitalize the coal industry to provide good paying jobs to all of Southwest Virginia.
    In addition, we need to revitalize the coal industry to provide good-paying jobs.” Maybe double check that.

  • Anonymous Is A Woman

    I am not sure how the Cap and Trade bill Tom voted for destroyed jobs, as the Republicans defeated it. And as others have pointed out, those good-paying coal mining jobs are not coming back, not because of government laws but because coal is just not competitive any more. The market killed those jobs.

  • Jerel C. Wilmore
  • Jerel C. Wilmore

    Something else to consider is the increased use of recycled steel. While a small amount of high-quality coal may still be mined to produce steel, recycled steel requires a lot less coking coal than steel that is being made from iron ore.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferrous_metal_recycling

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