TAMPA, Fla. - More than 2,200 delegates are participating in the 40th Republican National Convention this week, and on Tuesday West Virginia gubernatorial candidate Bill Maloney had the opportunity to speak for 31 of them.
Taking place at the Tampa Bay Times Forum through Thursday, the convention is hosting 2,286 delegates and 2,125 alternate delegates from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories. Maloney was selected to speak on behalf of the Mountain State's Republican delegation, of which all 31 delegates went for presumed presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
"We just got to do the roll call for the great state of West Virginia," Maloney told The Intelligencer by phone shortly before 7 p.m. "It was pretty exciting.
West Virginia gubernatorial candidate Bill Maloney, center, participates Tuesday in the Republican National Convention.
And it's pretty clear we're going to beat the war on coal if we elect Mitt Romney," Maloney added, noting the West Virginians on hand for roll call donned black hard hats in honor of the thousands of coal miners who work in the state.
"We'll protect coal," added West Virginia Republican Chairman Conrad Lucas. "Our goal is to make sure we turn back the clock to a time when all our elected leaders valued efficient domestic energy like coal and elect those patriots."
According to Maloney, making the most of domestic energy reserves to achieve energy independence is a major theme of the convention, especially among delegates from other energy-producing states such as Wyoming.
Maloney noted that media turned out in force for the convention, giving him the opportunity to speak with a television crew from China. He added that he believes the United States should follow China's example in expanding the use of coal to generate electricity.
"They're opening a new coal plant every two weeks. We should learn from them," he said, noting the Chinese generating stations are using the "latest technology" - much of which was developed in the U.S.
He said while the Chinese do need to improve safety measures in their coal mines, that nation is using its resources and he believes America should do the same.
"Reasonable regulation is one thing, but this EPA is over the top," he said regarding federal restraints on the use of coal. "It's pretty obvious we need leadership to take on our problems at the national and state levels. That's why I'm running for governor, to make our state all it can be."