CASTLEWOOD, Va. - Candidates vying to represent Southwest Virginia made a stop in Castlewood, Virginia to talk with coal miners about jobs, the economy, and the outlook on coal.
Bundled up and bracing the cold, people gathered at the Russell County Fairgrounds for one reason. "I'm here in support of coal and all the people you see here are in support of coal," said retired coal miner Tivis Brown.
This election year, coal and job loss in the coal industry seems to be on everyone's mind. "Here in Virginia coal is a big part of this election because coal is what made Virginia," added Brown.
United Mine Workers gathered to hear from candidates hoping to represent Southwest Virginia in Washington. "I really believe it's coal, it's the future of coal and the pro-innovation future of coal," said Democratic U.S. Senate Candidate Tim Kaine.
Kaine says besides jobs, there's another important issue this election, "Do you want to protect retirement, social security, medicare pensions, I do."
While coal jobs are at risk, Democratic Congressional Candidate Anthony Flaccavento says saving jobs would help the economy, especially in Southwest Virginia. "If we can get our economy moving again and invest in American manufacturing, which is one of my core priorities, we could have a rebirth of the steel industry," added Flaccavento.
People here say it's the mountains in Southwest Virginia, the coal mines, and keeping those coal miners working that they're fighting for. "A lot of people have lost their lives here and it's important to have somebody to represent everybody here," said strip miner Danny Kiser.
Election day is just weeks away, Kaine will face Republican Candidate George Allen in the November election. Flaccavento will square off with Republican Candidate Morgan Griffith.
News 5 also learned there will be a rally supporting American coal jobs, Sunday October 21st at Poplar Gap Park in Buchanan County, and it starts at 2pm.