Team of Trump and Cole Provides Leadership We Need to Rebuild our Economy
CHARLESTON – The West Virginia Coal Association President Bill Raney today issued the following statement lauding presumptive GOP nominee for President Donald Trump for his comments following last night’s victories in the nation’s final primaries.
“Last night, Donald Trump made it absolutely clear that he is who we need as president if we want to restore our nation’s economy,” Raney said. “And he reminded us all of what America can be if our industries are allowed to compete on a level playing field.
“As Mr. Trump said in his brief comments following his wrapping up the party’s nomination, ‘Every election year politicians promise change and every year they fail to deliver. And the one thing we have learned is we can’t solve our problems by relying on politicians who have created our problems.’
“For the past eight years, the Obama administration has done everything possible to put our coal miners out of work and destroy the nation’s coal industry, and Hillary Clinton has promised the same thing! We can’t afford another four or eight years of leaders who have shown themselves willing to destroy our own basic industries while bankrupting our nation.
“Mr. Trump is right, our coal miners – our wonderful and hardworking miners, who have been absolutely and totally mistreated by this administration – deserve respect for the work they have done and continue to do to make this country great. They absolutely don’t deserve to be the target of ridicule and callous disregard for their economic futures.
“Mr. Trump says he “will reduce regulatory pressures from their current insane levels” and bring an end to the War on Coal. When this occurs and we return to a situation in which the market determines winners and losers I am certain we can once again compete and restore our coal mining jobs. Our coal is the best in the world. Our coal miners are the best in the world, and given a fair chance, they can compete with anyone, anywhere.”
“Mr. Trump says he is a ‘fighter’ and if he is forced to fight he ‘will never back down.’ Our coal miners are too. We have fought this fight for almost eight years and we will not stop.
“West Virginia is suffering. America is suffering, but as Mr. Trump says, we CAN turn this around.
“We believe the team of Trump and GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Bill Cole provides the leadership our state and our nation needs as we restore our economy and our people’s faith in the greatness of America. And yes, it is long past time to put America – and West Virginia – first once again. “
Chris Hamilton Chairman, WV Business & Industry Council
April 30, 2016
Charleston, WV – The West Virginia Business & Industry Council (BIC) is extremely disappointed that Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin decided to endorse a presidential candidate who has expressed nothing but disdain for West Virginia’s coal industry and the thousands of families it supports.
“Gov. Tomblin calls West Virginia’s coalfields home, and his endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president means our governor officially is turning his back on the plight of the thousands of West Virginians and their families who are struggling because of the Obama Administration’s war on Appalachian coal,” said BIC Chairman Chris Hamilton. “Mrs. Clinton has stated clearly and unambiguously on national television that her administration will put even more coal miners out of work. Why would West Virginia’s chief executive declare that this person is right for West Virginia and the rest of the nation
“In his announcement throwing support behind Clinton, Tomblin said he has concerns about her position on fossil fuels,” Hamilton continued. “Well, his concerns should stretch to the entire U.S. economy because her plans for America will be nothing more than a continuation of Obama’s reign of economic terror. Clinton is bad for West Virginia, and Clinton is bad for America. We need a change, not more of the same ill-fated and short-sighted economic policy that we have had for the last seven years.”
The West Virginia Business & Industry Council’s goal is to enhance the business climate in West Virginia, and its members have been working to that end for more than three decades.
CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Chris Hamilton, the Vice President of the West Virginia Coal Association, does not think Senator Joe Manchin should need any additional input on the nomination of Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Justice Garland is a sitting judge on the D.C. Circuit, and he’s had a number of EPA cases before him,” Hamilton said Tuesday on the MetroNews-affiliated “The Mike Queen Show” on the AJR News Network. “And he has, almost without exception, upheld the agency’s rules, rule making, and requirements that it has proposed and implemented.”
The WV Coal Association sent an open letter to Senator Manchin expressing their disapproval of the nominee.
“We’d like to see Senator Manchin join with the core of U.S. senators who have vowed not to seat Justice Garland,” he said.
Garland has been at the center of a largely partisan fight between Democrats and Republicans in Washington D.C. over whether or not the Senate would hold any confirmation hearings–or even meet with Garland–following his nomination to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court in the wake of Justice Antonin Scalia’s death.
Hamilton said his association wouldn’t support a nomination that supported the Clean Power Plan, which is facing myriad legal challenges.
“That’s what prompted the letter to Senator Manchin,” he said. “Just remind him of the fact that this Clean Power Plan remains as this President’s center piece of his Administration.”
Hamilton was quick to blame the EPA and the Obama Administration for the losses suffered by the coal industry.
“That program has resulted in the complete decimation of the state’s coal industry, shutting down record number of mines, laying off of thousands and thousands of miners practically just destroying our state’s economy,” he said.
That’s how many West Virginia coal miners have lost their jobs in the past seven years.
That’s 11,000 families whose lives were turned upside down by the policies of the Obama Administration and the National Democratic Party.
And each one of those 11,000 jobs supported another 5 jobs… that’s another 55,000 jobs and another 55,000 families.
When you stop to consider that most of these people were in the prime years of their lives, most had kids, mortgages, truck payments, they were saving for college, saving for retirement….
Their taxes paid for schools, for roads, for water and sewer lines. They paid for sheriff’s deputies and programs for senior citizens.
Today, those jobs are gone and so are the taxes…
This is the legacy of the Obama Administration, the national Democratic Party and the radicals who control the EPA. Over the next few months, we are going to be making a decision about who will lead our state and nation forward for the next eight years.
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders would continue Obama’s anti-coal policies and, double down on them, costing even more coal jobs . We can’t afford that.
We aren’t telling you who to vote for…. but we can tell you who NOT to vote for if you care about our state and its future. A vote for Clinton or Sanders will destroy our state … it’s that simple….
There is no doubt that West Virginia is facing an economic and a fiscal crisis. We are reminded constantly of our troubled times. Miners being laid off because of President Obama’s War on Coal. A majority of our adults not working. High unemployment. Dead last in job growth because we are the most over-regulated state in the nation. A $353 million state budget deficit that is only going to grow in the short term because of the dramatic decline of severance taxes and the ripple effect it will have on income and sales taxes.
Now more than ever, we need a new direction. A new plan to move our state forward. We can no longer keep doing the same things and expecting different results. As a small businessman, I know what it takes to meet budgets, control costs, and above all, create jobs. These are the very principles I am applying in my duties as President of the West Virginia Senate.
Last year, the West Virginia Legislature took dramatic steps to pass comprehensive legal reforms that have already resulted in lower insurance rates. In all, we were able to get 10 bills passed and signed into law to help relieve the budgets of families and small businesses. In the first half of this year’s session, we have taken bold steps to jump start our economy by passing the West Virginia Workplace Freedom Act that sends a message loud and clear to the rest of the country that this state is a place open for new jobs.
We also reformed our labor laws by eliminating West Virginia’s prevailing wage rate. This protects taxpayers, increases capital for new construction and allows more local businesses to compete for public projects instead of protecting a rigged system for a select few. This will get more of our state’s workers back to work.
These efforts faced great opposition from special interest groups who simply want to protect the status quo. But, West Virginia must change if we are going to compete, get our economy growing, and create jobs. We must create a new plan that will enable us to grow.
The Senate also has taken steps to help our coal industry get back on its feet. We are working to make sure that a tax that is set to expire does so. And, we are working to repeal outdated regulations that are strangling businesses’ ability to grow and create jobs.
A new plan for our state must be rooted in development of the infrastructure of tomorrow. That’s why the Senate is acting to ensure every part of our state has access to high speed broadband by providing tax credits for broadband development in rural areas. We also will take up efforts to fund the middle mile across West Virginia. We must work quickly towards a goal of meeting the FCC’s 25 Mbps standard for every region of our state. The expansion of broadband is a jobs bill for both the short term to build it and the long term, as it will spur entrepreneurship and increase education opportunities for students.
Many people have said we are taking up too many tough issues that will be used against us politically. Each member of the Legislature got elected to do what they think is right. Despite some of the bitter disagreements recent actions have created, I firmly believe we need to advance
a new plan to move our state forward that creates jobs. There are only two types of jobs I care about – good jobs, and jobs right here in West Virginia.
Senate President Bill Cole, R-Mercer, represents the Sixth Senatorial District, which includes Wayne, Mingo, McDowell and Mercer counties.
CHARLESTON- The West Virginia Coal Association’s 43rd Annual Mining Symposium will kick off at 8:30 A.M., Wednesday, January 27 at the Charleston Civic Center.
The Symposium will be a streamlined two-day event, beginning with registration on Wednesday morning and going directly into the formal opening session with Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, Senate President Bill Cole and the primary keynote speaker, Robert Murray, chairman, president and CEO of Murray Energy Corporation. It is expected that Mr. Murray will discuss a host of issues related to the challenges facing coal mining in West Virginia and in the United States, including his efforts to fight the job-killing intrusion of the federal EPA.
They will be followed by internationally known coal marketing expert, Ernie Thrasher, CEO of XCoal.
The Mountaineer Guardian Safety Awards Luncheon will follow, sponsored by Jackson Kelly, PLLC.
Thursday morning will begin at 7:30 a.m. with a breakfast sponsored by Walker Machinery and Dinsmore & Shohl.
The usual full and informative program will begin at 8:30 a.m. with our congressional delegation, well known lawyers and scientists rounding out the program. The afternoon will feature a new WVCA member, the Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund. VCLF CEO Tom Clarke will discuss the organization and its vision and will be followed by coal industry leaders and members of Congress and the Legislature.
The Annual Reclamation Awards Luncheon will be sponsored by Babst Calland and Civil & Environmental Consultants, at noon.
BRIDGEPORT — “The Legislature made substantive and impactful progress in the 2015 legislative session and work has begun in earnest on our 2016 agenda,” said Senate President and Lieutenant Governor Bill Cole in his opening remarks during BIC’s fourth regional business forum Thursday at the Bridgeport Conference Center in Bridgeport, WV. Nearly 60 business and policy leaders from north central West Virginia and across the state participated.
“The legal reforms passed during the last session are starting to bear fruit,” Cole said.
He referenced that a major insurance company doing business in the state has informed him that they will be announcing a rate reduction on auto insurance by nearly 6 percent in the near future. “That is just one tangible example of your legislature getting results.”
“We’re going to continue to move the needle for West Virginia and we’re going to do it in a big way in 2016,” Cole stated. “We’re going to take on the hard issues, many of which may have been taboo in the past, but which will make us competitive and bring us in line with other states.” Cole cited Right To Work and Prevailing Wage as policy initiatives the legislature will be considering.
“We’ve got to make changes now,” Cole said. “West Virginia is one of the only states in the country to see a population decrease and we’ve got to reverse that trend. To do that, we need to double down on the things that are working and stop doing the things keeping us at the top of the “bad” lists.
Cole noted his appreciation for BIC’s role in promoting the policies, as well as the political candidates, that West Virginia needs to move the state forward.
Chris Hamilton, Chairman of BIC, framed the challenges facing West Virginia and BIC’s role in spearheading positive change.
“It is all of our duty here today to support those tackling the hard issues and to elect candidates that will continue this trend into the future,” Hamilton stated.
The event featured a variety of speakers, covering various issues.
Eugenie Taylor with the WV Chamber of Commerce outlined the need for passing public charter school legislation. “For those with resources in West Virginia, they have the option of sending their children to private schools which they may feel provide their children with the support they need to thrive,” Taylor said. “However, for the majority of West Virginians without such means, they have no alternative to public schools.”
“This is in no way an effort to replace public schools,” Taylor said. “It is, however, one more tool that can help move West Virginia forward.” Echoing WVU President Gordon Gee’s comments during the WV Chamber’s recent Business Summit, Taylor said, “West Virginia doesn’t have time for incrementalism. We need all the tools in the toolbox to be available to us now.”
Taylor said the Chamber is working to build a coalition of public charter school supporters and encouraged those in attendance to contact her should they like to participate.
Senate Education Chairman Dave Sypolt outlined the challenges he and his committee face in working to improve West Virginia’s education system. “The West Virginia code includes more than 700 pages dealing with education,” Sypolt said. “My goal is to review and simplify the code to create a more student-centered education system.”
Brian Hoylman, Executive Director of the Associated Builders & Contracts, presented on the movement to enact a Workforce Freedom – or Right To Work – law in West Virginia. “An employee shouldn’t be forced to pay dues to a union as a condition of their employment.”
Hoylman cited a MetroNews poll announced on Labor Day which found that 60 percent of West Virginia voters would support a Right To Work law. “Interestingly,” Hoylman noted, “only 30 percent of those polled were republicans, which shows the broad based support this initiative has.”
Delegates Amy Summers and Terry Waxman outlined their desire to improve West Virginia’s healthcare and welfare systems and to implement solutions addressing substance abuse.
Corky DeMarco, President of the West Virginia Oil & Natural Gas Association, provided an overview on the immense natural gas resources under the ground in our region. “West Virginia and our region will overtake Saudi Arabia in terms of oil and gas production when it’s all said and done,” DeMarco stated. “We need the legislature to take steps to assure production continues and that we maximize the downstream opportunities available for economic growth.”
Chris Hamilton outlined the challenges facing West Virginia’s coal industry and the ongoing impact of President Obama’s war on coal. “We’ve lost approximately 6,000 mining jobs in West Virginia over the past several years and a quarter of our production. While that is devastating to working families and our economy, we hope that the trend has begun to level off. Coal will continue to provide a significant portion of America’s electricity into the future.”
Delegate Paul Espinosa, Kathy Wagner, President of the Harrison County Chamber of Commerce, and Barbara DeMary, Executive Director of the Region 6 Workforce Investment Board, outlined the economic development challenges and opportunities facing north central West Virginia and the region.
“The two greatest challenges facing north central West Virginia right now are 1) retaining the businesses we have here today, and 2) finding workers for jobs both now and in the future,” said Wagner.
DeMary informed the group that there are a lot of people unemployed and in need of training in the region. She outlined a federal program that will incent food stamp beneficiaries in the Monongalia, Harrison and Marion County region to begin job training programs or lose their food stamp benefits.
The next BIC regional forum will take place in Vienna on Oct. 8.