To the Editor:
My fellow eastern Kentuckians, I understand the aggravation you must feel towards the candidates in this year’s hotly contested U.S. Senate race. Both Senator McConnell and Secretary Grimes have had their fair share of gaffes on the campaign trail, and I further understand your reluctance to turn out the vote on November 4.
Now is not the time for political apathy. In this close race, eastern Kentucky is a battleground region, and may decide the election. Both candidates claim to have plans to revitalize our region’s economy, beginning with the coal industry. Only Alison Lundergan Grimes has a plan to fight for coal, especially our coal miners. Alison has received the endorsement of the United Mine Workers of America for her outspoken stance in fighting an EPA that issues job-killing regulations, her commitment to protecting black- lung benefits for those affected and their families, and her vocal opposition to President Obama’s misguided energy policy.
Diversifying our region’s economy is another priority of Alison’s. She is in favor of infrastructure development, raising the minimum wage, equal pay for a woman’s equal work, reforming student loan debt so that our youth can get an affordable college degree, return to the region, and be innovative job creators and leaders in Appalachia.
Mitch McConnell, however, advocates policies that would have an adverse effect on our region and our state. The Senator opposes bringing thousands of Kentucky families out of poverty by raising the minimum wage to a livable wage. He stands idly by while millions of students across what used to be this “Land of Opportunity” are crushed under the burden of outrageous student loan debt just to learn the skills necessary to make a living (even though he has become a multimillionaire while neglecting the needs of our state). Lastly, he would not think twice about getting rid of our successfully “Kynect”, which has provided a path for many Letcher Countians to receive affordable healthcare thanks to the “Kynectors” at MCHC.
It seems as if Mitch only cares about us every six years — job security.
It is time to take matters into our own hands, beginning with the ballot box. If you would like for your children to be future Appalachians, to partake in an economic recovery, and to prosper in the beautiful mountains, which we so love, vote for a change. Thirty years of saying “no, no, no” to policies that could benefit our region is thirty years too long.
Vote for a strong-willed, compassionate, strongwilled, and intelligent independent thinker. Vote for Alison Grimes, I agree with Representative Leslie Combs in saying, “Alison cares!”
Cameron Wright is a student at Letcher County Central High School.