GOP Leadership Turns Out to Meet Candidate

BEALLSVILLE, Ohio – Republican leaders in East Ohio – and the state GOP leader from West Virginia – turned out Tuesday to the Century Mine in Beallsville to show their support for presumed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, who serves as Romney’s campaign chairman in Ohio, introduced Romney during a rally Tuesday at the Murray Energy operation, owned by Robert E. Murray.

In his introduction, Portman said President Barack Obama promised a 5.6-percent unemployment rate by 2012 if his $1 trillion economic stimulus was approved. The idea was that growing the government would create more jobs, Portman said.

The current national unemployment rate is at 8.3 percent, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics figures.

“Folks, it’s 50 percent higher” than projected, Portman said. “Is it working? No.”

But he added Romney presents an alternative for Americans and said that’s “good news.”

“We’ve actually got somebody running for president who knows how to create jobs,” Portman said. “Somebody who understands it is the private sector – not government – that will turn this country around. It is the people here working hard and getting a reward for hard work that will make the difference in terms of getting us out of the weakest economic recovery since the Great Depression. That man is Mitt Romney.”

In America, “coal equals jobs,” added Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, also a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate.

“We understand coal is an asset,” he said. “Gov. Romney understands coal is an asset to the economic strength and national security of America. These people who are out of touch with Ohio – Barack Obama and Sen. Sherrod Brown – have waged a war on coal. They think coal is a four-letter word. For any of these folks trying to stand between us and affordable, reliable and dependable energy we have four words for them – over our dead bodies.”

Among elected officials attending the rally was state Rep. Andy Thompson, R-Marietta, who said his district is rich with fossil fuels.

“Mitt Romney is a man who will stand up for fossil fuels,” Thompson said. “The nation can’t be secure without a vibrant supply of fossil fuels. We also need reasonably priced electricity, and this can be made possible by our coal and natural gas resources.”

Shane Thompson, Republican candidate for the Ohio Senate in the 30th District, said environmental concerns have helped to make coal technology better.

“So why would we move away from utilizing a viable supply of energy?” he asked.

Romney’s appearance before miners at the Century Mine shows he is concerned about the average American and “Main Street U.S.A.,” said Diana Kennon, chairwoman of the Belmont County Republican Party. “It underscores how important energy is to our economic and national security.”

West Virginia Republican Party Chairman Conrad Lucas made the trip to Beallsville from his home in Huntington.

“This election is about the war on coal, and this rally shines light on it,” Lucas said. “I’m here to show support for the Romney/Ryan efforts for coal.”