Within the last week I have read two letters to the editor that are completely off base. The first was bashing our state representative, Andy Thompson, and the second was a glowing recommendation for the Democrats running in our area.
First and foremost, both writers seem to think that the woes of the coal industry have nothing to do with the policies of the Democrats. These writers seem to believe that because someone shows up on your doorstep and is willing to lend an ear, they are interested in helping out. Here is a big hint, they play to your plight to win your vote and your vote is all they really care about. I say this because the actions of the Democrats speak loudly that my statement is true. Are these writers so naive as to believe that their candidates can fight their own party's policies and win? The Democratic Party Machine is all about phasing out coal. The leader of their party, Barrack Obama, has not hidden this agenda. He has publicly stated that he wishes to bankrupt coal fired electric plants. Obama has done a pretty good job of reducing the use of coal in our country while causing electric rates to skyrocket and causing good paying jobs to go away. If these people would at least get their facts straight, it would be a big help.
Thompson is a great representative for his district. He listens to concerns and acts to help when he can. Thompson led HB506 through the Ohio House to provide Ohio with control and flexibility in meeting the new EPA regulations, and requiring the documentation of the damage the War on Coal has done to local communities and especially coal-fired power, which supports many union jobs. He is vice-chairman of one of the most effective committees in the Ohio House, the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. He also sits on the Public Utilities Committee. In those capacities, he has successfully led resolutions through the Ohio House calling on Obama to stop taxing and regulating coal out of business. The General Assembly also passed Senate Bill 310 with Thompson's strong support. It freezes the move away from coal to more expensive alternative sources that will raise utility rates for our most vulnerable citizens. Thompson was a keynote speaker at annual Nemacolin Energy Institute meeting regarding the threat to coal mining posed by EPA regulations and the difficulty of obtaining permits and reaching compliance in light of new CO2 requirements. He hosted a town hall meeting in Belmont County to address those same issues. More than 100 citizens were in attendance. Does this sound like a guy that is not supportive of coal? Once we look at these facts it becomes apparent that the letter writers were only interested in producing a hit piece on Thompson or they are woefully ignorant on the real facts.
Regarding taxes on oil and gas leases, Thompson, nearly alone in Columbus, has consistently opposed raising the severance tax for the monies it will take from our local area. The ad valorem tax was instituted many years ago, and is not new. I believe Thompson's point that the writer failed to grasp is that there are already taxes in place on the industry that support local schools and local governments. Raising the severance tax is one more way for Columbus to get its hands on money that is more effectively spent by local residents than by bureaucrats.
One letter writer bashed Thompson for not coming to union supported events. I wonder if the writer even stopped to realize that Thompson was not even invited. I am pretty sure it would be a rare occurrence for any candidate with an R after their name to be invited to a union sponsored event. This fact alone makes the writer's argument against Thompson laughable. Then again, it's hard to take a lot of this venom seriously anyway.
For the record, Thompson has attended multiple meetings regarding the Mine Safety Training facility in Harrison County, has regularly talked with ODNR officials regarding a resolution to the issue, and has met with local officials including members of Cadiz City Council and the local CIC to find viable options. The ODNR is currently considering proposals regarding where to site the facility, most likely in Harrison County as before.
I have found Thompson to be a man of his word and a stand-up guy. He has worked hard for all of us. I also urge voters to check out the facts for themselves. Don't take my word for it or the word of Democrats. I for one have done my homework and that is why I will cast my vote for him and urge others to do the same.