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UMWA support means victory for worker-friendly candidates in KY, VA, PA

November 7, 2007

NOVEMBER 7, 2007
CONTACT: Phil Smith

UMWA support means victory for worker-friendly candidates in Kentucky, Virginia, Pennsylvania

Strong backing from the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) and other labor unions proved to be a key to success for candidates in Kentucky, Virginia and elsewhere, as demonstrated by the results of elections held yesterday.

“Candidates who care about working people and our concerns were victorious in state after state,” UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts said. “We are especially pleased at the tremendous victory won by Steve Beshear in Kentucky.

“The UMWA was an early endorser of Gov.-Elect Beshear, and our members worked day and night alongside our union sisters and brothers in that state to secure his victory,” Roberts said. “We look forward to working with him and his incoming administration to improve the lives of working families across the state.”

In addition to Beshear, five of the six statewide candidates endorsed by the Kentucky UMWA Coal Miners Political Action Committee (COMPAC) won their races in yesterday’s balloting.

In Virginia, early UMWA support was critical in the successful effort to put friends of working families back in control of the state Senate and make gains in the state House of Delegates. Three of the five UMWA-endorsed House of Delegates candidates won their elections in southwest Virginia–where most UMWA members in the state live–as did the lone state Senate candidate from that area endorsed by the union.

“Now perhaps the Virginia legislature will begin addressing the real needs of working families throughout the state, and especially in the coal mining areas in southwest Virginia,” Roberts said. “It’s past time that the legislature got serious about working with our friend, Gov. Tim Kaine, and do something to help working families instead of setting them back, especially in the areas of education and transportation.

“The results in Virginia should also send a clear message to the national political parties that the state is now more on the blue side of purple than on the red side,” Roberts said. “Virginia Democrats will have a very strong 2008 nominee for the U.S. Senate in former Gov. Mark Warner, and a presidential candidate who truly cares about working and middle-income families should be well-positioned to win the state’s 13 electoral votes.”

Roberts also noted that three of the four UMWA-endorsed candidates for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court were elected yesterday, as were dozens of candidates in local and county elections across the state. “Pennsylvania is UMWA country,” Roberts said. “With close to 25,000 working and retired members in the state, plus their families, UMWA votes make a difference. That was demonstrated once again yesterday.”

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