Conway Meets with Coal Miners' Widows

By: Marcus Conroy Email
By: Marcus Conroy Email

Democratic US Senate candidate Jack Conway spent most of Thursday touring the mountains.

His first stop was at France's Diner in Hazard to talk to several coal miner's widows.

He time talking to people involved in the coal mining industry.

Melissa Lee's husband was killed in the 2006 Darby Mine explosion, and is concerned for her other family members who still mine.

"I don't consider them accidents. I believe that any mining fatality and disaster can be stopped if the right mining regulations are taken," said Lee.

"Coal is important. I've broken with the Obama administration. I'm against cap and trade. I think coal needs to be an important part of our energy future. We just need to mine it responsibly," said Conway.

Stella Morris's husband was killed in a Harlan County mine almost five years ago, and says he could have survived if enough medical personnel were in the mine.

"He basically bled to death because of lack of treatment. After his death we got it passed to where you have to have two medics for each shift," said Morris.

Her husband died on December 30, 2005. She says his insurance expired the next day, and says she has raised her young son without health insurance.

Conway told Morris and Lee that he wants to make sure their push for safety regulations are met by new legislation that would reinforce mining safety, and also protect the families who lose their miners.

"To promise that their husbands did not die in vain. I just think it's so wrong that they don't have health insurance," said Conway.

After leaving Hazard, Conway made stops in Jackson, West Liberty, and Ashland.

Last week, Conway's opponent Rand Paul told the Associated Press he would like to add more coal mine inspectors to ensure safety for miners.

Bill Bissett with the Kentucky Coal Association says mines do not get enough credit for the good work they do from daily inspection to mine rescue teams. He adds mining officials need to review work after an incident, but in a manner that makes mines safer.

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