The fate of coal and coal miners is important in our part of Virginia. Sometimes we here in Montgomery County forget that coal miners are our neighbors. About 15 million short tons of coal were mined in Virginia in 2015, most of it here in Southwest Virginia in counties like Buchanan, Dickenson, Wise, and Tazewell, all of which are in the Virginia Ninth Congressional District like Montgomery County. The value of the coal mined in Virginia was about $1.5 billion in 2015.
If you’ve been listening to Hillary Clinton’s speeches lately, you’ve heard her say that we need to “rewrite the rules” of our economic system. Her point is that our financial laws now favor the already wealthy and don’t much help the rest of us. Wealth inequality is growing, with most of the nation’s recent economic gains going to the wealthiest 20% of Americans. The wealthiest 1% of Americans are reaping the rewards of our improving economy at an even more disproportionate rate, while those of us in the 99% find our incomes lagging by comparison.