Stumbo says Chandler got 'stuck' on coal issue; says House needs to come together

11/07/2012 06:26 PM

Coal was “a significant factor” in Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler’s defeat in the 6th Congressional District as Chandler was “stuck” with his 2009 vote on a cap-and-trade bill, said Democratic state House Speaker Greg Stumbo.

Stumbo, who spoke with Pure Politics on Election Night, said he didn’t know that there was much Chandler could have done once Republican Andy Barr hammered on ads on Chandler’s vote and linked him to President Barack Obama, whose administration has drawn the ire of Eastern Kentuckians who blame regulations for slowing the industry.

Chandler tried to defend his vote for cap-and-trade, which would put a ceiling on carbon emissions from power plants and factories and allow those industries to trade pollution credits. He said that system, which initially was pushed by Republicans decades ago, was preferable to aggressive regulations by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

But Stumbo said the perception that Chandler opposed a signature Kentucky issue was too much.

For instance, he said a fellow Floyd County native who now lives in the Central Kentucky district told Stumbo he wouldn’t vote for Chandler because “he’s against coal.”

“These are kids who were raised to support Democratic candidates,” Stumbo said.

Stumbo also discussed the state House races, which left Democrats with a 55-45 majority — a more comfortable margin for Democrats than many Republicans had hoped.

“It’s time to stop the fighting. It’s time to start the fixin’,” Stumbo said. Atop the priority list, he said, are pension reforms and revamping the tax code.

About Ryan Alessi

Ryan Alessi joined cn|2 in May 2010 as senior managing editor and host of Pure Politics. He has covered politics for more than 10 years, including 7 years as a reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Follow Ryan on Twitter @cn2Alessi. Ryan can be reached at 502-792-1135 or


  • Jeanie Embry wrote on November 09, 2012 09:55 AM :

    The coal argument..another ‘wedge’ issue… First of all, the cheap cost of natural gas is ‘killing’ the coal industry. Secondly, coal companies have been eliminating jobs for quite some time now, it’s cheaper for them to blow tops off of mountains and use dragline equip rather than pay miners AND keep miners SAFE! IF coal is such a ‘prosperous’ industry in KY why then are coal communities among the most poor & impoverished in our state??!? Furthermore, if a company can’t upgrade their decades-old stacks to keep mercury and other toxins out of our air and water, they don’t need to be in business. Sounds like the coal companies have this philosophy of ‘freedom for me but not for thee’. I have a RIGHT to breathe clean air and drink safe water. Air, water, folks these are necessary to sustain life, and quality of life at that. Ironically, seems some thinks it’s okay to allow corporate polluters to keep on polluting and then take away access to health care. Moral family pro-life values?? Come on, REALLY?? If it matters, fetuses are at risk for mercury and other toxins even in the womb. Oh, then when children are born with learning disabilities due to toxic pollution, they’re denigrated for needing gov’t assistance because they can’t work and contribute to society… more family values-type thinking??!? Perhaps we need to amend KY’s Constitution to make it a basic fundamental right for citizens’ in KY to be able to breathe clean air and drink safe water.

  • Heza Krook wrote on November 11, 2012 05:09 PM :

    OK, whatever, Eddie Munster. Chandler may have got stuck on coal, but Greg Stumbo and the people who keep voting for him have been stuck on stupid for over 20 years.

  • waybert17 wrote on November 11, 2012 08:07 PM :

    The problem is that coal money doesn’t stay in the coal counties, but Frankfort always finds a way to distribute this money away from the people who need economic progress….to Kentuckians in Lexington, Louisville, etc. who don’t need it. This is why coal counties, along with the people, are so poor because of this reverse distribution of income.

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