VA Gov. to make funding announcement in SWVA weeks before presidential election

Photo: AP
Photo: AP

SOUTHWEST VA (WJHL)- Tuesday Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe will come to Southwest Virginia with the promise of good news for coal country, just days before the presidential election.

McAuliffe will announce that the Obama administration is giving additional funding to coal-impacted communities.

Coal was once the life-blood of the Southwest Virginia economy, now it’s a political hot button issue.

It’s come up during the debates, and during a campaign stop by Donald Trump in Abingdon Virginia he said this election is the last shot for miners, “Hillary will be a horror show, and I’m going to be an unbelievable positive, but this is the last shot, the mines will be gone, the mines will be gone if she gets elected,” Trump said.

Tuesday Governor McAuliffe will come to Wise county, once home to thousands of mining jobs. He’s Virginia’s leading Democrat, and one of Hillary Clinton’s closest allies.

“As governor of Virginia he is of course her chief surrogate in the state and it’s made it even more important because of the fact that Senator Tim Kaine is the vice presidential nominee,” Dr. Daryl Carter, ETSU associate professor of history said.

As for the timing of the funding announcement, “Of course it’s on purpose. This is to try to shore up any last minute support that they can get. They see that Obama, Clinton, McAuliffe, their administrations have done nothing to help the coal region,” Virginia Delegate Todd Pillion (R- Abingdon) said.

The specifics about what the Governor will announce haven’t been released, but Appalachian Regional Commission said Governor McAuliffe has helped secure these federal funds for this region.

“The governor is a member of the ARC commission and he’s been a very active and aggressive member to the commission really working to bring resources to the Southwest Virginia that match up with his economic development strategy to that area of the commonwealth,” Earl Gohl, federal co-chair for the Appalachian Regional Commission said.

All agree, Virginia is a must-win state for the Presidential candidates, and the Clinton campaign faces big challenges in the predominantly conservative Southwest Virginia region.

“It really hurts when Secretary Clinton went out there and said to them we’re going to clean out coal, we’re going to take all of these jobs and these people said wait a second we depend on these jobs,” Carter said.

Gohl said the Governor’s visit,  while timed just before the election,  has no ties to the upcoming vote.

Copyright 2016 WJHL. All Rights Reserved.

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