Just what about coal are you for?

We desperately need Anthony Flaccavento in the Ninth CD Virginia – he is actually for the coal miners who live and work here, and not just for the Wall Street face of coal. He is campaigning with around a third of the money his opponent has, and his opponent is trying — by means of lots of green — to paint himself as the friend of coal. I was personally in the “packed house in Abingdon” where Anthony clearly owned the issue of coal in southwest Virginia. If you were there, or if you are keeping up, you are probably wondering what part of coal Anthony’s opponent Morgan Griffith is “for.”

These two letters about Anthony Flaccavento, Rick Boucher, Morgan Griffith, and Coal will clarify the issue:

Dear Southwest Virginia Voters,

In 1989, against all odds, Douglas Wilder became the first Black Southern Governor since Reconstruction by campaigning on Southwestern Virginia’s back roads, visiting coal mines, shaking miners’ hands and listening to miners who later voted for a Black man from Richmond.

In 2010, a Salem man living outside the Fightin’ Ninth District ran for the Ninth. Armed with Big Coal’s Big financial fuel and a Big Lie that 28-year Congressman Boucher would shut down the coal mines forever, he won, and immediately began campaigning for reelection, perpetually claiming that Democrats will regulate coal out of business.

Voting thirty-three times against black lung and widow’s benefits assured in the Affordable Healthcare Act, this so-called “friend of coal” is no friend of coalminers. Does he mean coal—corporate profits? Or coal– the livelihood of miners and their families and the well-being of towns, streams and hillsides where miners live? Has this “friend of coal” descended into mines and grasped the sacrifices of those who mine the coal?

In a packed Abingdon auditorium of 600 onlookers of the first 9th District debate were scores of UMW jacket-clad men—some with children on their laps, who want a straighter answer. Congressman Griffith’s opponent, Anthony Flaccavento, certainly has it–a working plan detailing each step of preparing for developing a better future in Southwest Virginia with good new jobs for coalminers and their families as coal winds down. Flaccavento is NOT anti-coal. He is profoundly PRO-coalminer!

We’re from Salem, hometown of Morgan Griffith, but we know that Griffith pushes coal to the exclusion of preparing for the future, which is now. Griffith’s strategy has bought him a lot of big signs and filled his coffers with easy money for his one-note message, but it will leave the coalminers behind while plants are now already switching to cheaper natural gas.

Anthony Flaccavento, traveling tirelessly through the “Fightin’ 9th, knows and explains how his model of transitioning tobacco farmers can work on a broader basis to prepare without delay alternative jobs for a thriving future in the coal-extracted landscapes. Voting for Flaccavento is buying ourselves insurance.

Anthony Flaccavento will represent us and the people of the Fightin’ Ninth in a way that will demonstrate to our gridlocked 11%-approved Congress how to return our Democracy to the people. Be wise for American voters have a critical job to due on election day: Clean out the do-nothing House in Congress on election day: Hire Anthony Flaccavento to work for the PEOPLE of the 9th. -Cynthia Munley & Spike Harrison, Salem

Economic sustainability in the coalfields is right approach

I grew up in the Anthracite coal region of Northeastern Pennsylvania 70 years ago. Anthracite is pretty much a dead industry now, and the decline of the industry was no picnic. In there mad scramble to extract coal, companies “robbed the pillars” of mine shafts, mined right under homes, deposited mountains of culm which then caught on fire and burned for decades, and endangered residents throughout the area. Within a 2-block area from my home, there were 5 major mine cave-ins, including the first floor of the home next door. My memory is seared by the lack of effective regulation of coal companies, a lack which Morgan Griffith, incumbent 9th District congressman, is trying to repeat for Southwest Virginia.

Griffith’s opponent is quite a contrast. Abingdon’s Anthony Flaccavento–citizen-farmer, small businessman, economic development consultant, the spark plug for farmers markets throughout the area, to mention only a few of his accomplishments–promises a better approach to economic sustainability, built on the realization that coal is not forever and must be transitioned from, that black lung disease incurred by miners who helped energize the country deserves public help, and that bottom-up economic development via small business will invigorate regions of Southwest Virginia.

Mr. Griffith knows one approach to the region’s problems: “Deregulation” ad nauseum, to the point of endangering drinking water and undermining the future of coal miners by not helping them transition to economic activity of the future. Anthony Flaccavento, on the other hand, helped tobacco farmers transition to the growing niche market of organic produce.

Vote for you interests, vote for Flaccavento. -Frank Munley, Salem

Author: Sarah Williams

website manager.

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