HYDEN, Ky (WYMT) - U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes continues her campaign across the commonwealth. On Thursday, the Democrat toured eastern Kentucky making stops everywhere from Clay to Perry County.
But at a special stop in Leslie County, Grimes paused to remember fallen miners and outline her plan to protect future ones.
On Thursday morning, a small group of cars lined the road leading to the Hurricane Creek Mine Disaster Memorial site. That is where Alison Lundergan Grimes stopped to honor the 38 men killed following a 1970 mine explosion on that very spot.
"It is a reminder of the heroes that we have lost and the need to have somebody in Washington D.C. that has their back instead of the big coal corporations," said Grimes.
As Grimes toured the site, she laid a wreath in memory of the miners at the foot of a statue in their honor. She also talked about the plan, if elected, she will use to increase mine safety.
"It ensures that the Mine Health Safety Administration actually is using the most up-to-date technology, has the funding for the inspectors, in contrast to Mitch McConnell, who turned his back when over a hundred inspectors were cut by the Department of Labor," said Grimes.
Team Mitch spokeswoman Allison Moore had this to say about Senator McConnell's democratic challenger.
"Perhaps someone should remind Alison that it was Sen. McConnell who co-sponsored and passed the miner act to ensure the health and safety of America's coal miners, and that it is Sen. McConnell who fights every day to protect Kentucky's miners from Grimes' liberal allies who need her vote to completely destroy the coal industry," said Moore.
Responding to attacks claiming her campaign is funded by "anti-coal liberals", Grimes denied the accusation.
"It is Kentucky that is at the forefront of this campaign saying they are ready for someone who will finally put their interests first and work to grow the middle class," said Grimes.
She added that her campaign already has received more than 50,000 contributions. She tells WYMT she hopes to improve the claims process for miner's suffering from black lung after winning in November.
Grimes also criticized McConnell for wanting to repeal the Federal Affordable Care Act saying it includes provisions to help coal miners receive benefits for black lung disease.
Following her stop in Leslie County Thursday morning, Grimes visited the Treehouse Cafe in downtown Hazard. While there, she met with supporters and talked about her plans for Kentucky if she wins the U.S. Senate seat this November.