Clinton promises 'to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business;' Grimes 'disappointed' with comments

03/14/2016 10:11 PM

Democratic presidential front runner Hillary Clinton wants to bring “clean renewable energy as the key to coal country,” and in the process put miners and businesses out of work, she said at a town hall on CNN.

The comments have already put Kentucky Democratic politicians in a pickle.

During Sunday’s town hall, Clinton said she wants to “make it clear that we don’t want to forget those people” who worked in the coal mines, but she said their industry is finished.

“Those people labored in those mines for generations losing their health, often losing their lives to turn on our lights and power our factories,” Clinton said. “Now we’ve got to move away from coal and all the other fossil fuels, but I don’t want to move away from the people who did the best they could to produce the energy that we relied on.”

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes knows the Clinton family well.

Bill and Hillary campaigned for Grimes multiple times in 2014 against U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, but Monday the Democratic Secretary of State said the statements from Clinton “don’t mirror” their personal discussions on the subject.

“I was very disappointed to hear the comments that came out of the debate,” Grimes told reporters Monday. “My hope is that she’ll have a chance to clarify those comments.

“Importantly, my position remains the same,” Grimes continued. “We support those in our state especially our miners – their ability to put food on their table and especially their safety to come out of that mine. That’s what’s most important here in this state — it’s not the coal that’s produced it’s the men that’s coming out of that mine.”

Grimes spent plenty of time on the campaign trail in 2013 and 2014 parrying attacks on coal levied at her and President Obama from McConnell, who staked out his position as a pro-coal candidate early and returned to it often.

House Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook, said that he didn’t think the comments from Clinton would hurt Kentucky Democrats political efforts this fall.

“I’ll be glad to educate anyone in this presidential race in this race as we move forward, Democrat — Republican on either side,” Adkins said.

Coal has been on the decline in Kentucky and across the nation for years as it’s been edged out by cheaper natural gas and environmental regulations.

Clinton’s full plan to “revitalize coal communities” is available here.

Video of Grimes and Adkins produced by cn|2 reporter Don Weber.


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