BRISTOL, Va. - Mayors from several cities in Massachusetts made a special trip to State Street in Bristol Wednesday to speak out against presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
They were speaking specifically to small business owners and sharing what they say were very negative experiences in their state during Romney's time as governor.
This is a prime example of how important Virginia is in this election. Mayors John Barnett, Joe Curatone and Rob Dolan are not from around here -- they are all mayors of different cities in Massachusetts who have taken the time to come to Virginia and warn voters about what they say are negative aspects of Mitt Romney.
The hottest topic of the day was coal, a subject that runs to the roots of our region's history. Both sides had plenty to say on that.
"I can remember the day when I stood with the mayor of Salem, Massachusetts in his community," Mayor John Barrett said. "Governor Romney showed up at one of the coal-burning energy-producing plants there and basically said, 'I am going to shut this down. It is not safe. It's killing people.' And he did everything in his power to close that down."
"You see coal employment drop in Virginia," deputy policy director for the Romney campaign John Burkes said. "You have seen coal production drop in Virginia. The president's record is very poor here and Governor Romney wants to turn things around."
Some say Romney was what most consider an absentee governor. "Mitt Romney was there for two years," Mayor Rob Dolan said. "The other two years he was running for president."
That is a claim the Romney campaign told us was flatly wrong, saying he was not even in office when he was running.
The mayors say they are making the point that Mitt didn't care about Massachusetts. "It was all about getting Mitt Romney ready to run for president," Barrett said.
"The best way he could get himself ready to be president of the United States was to demonstrate he has a record of success," Burkes added. "To prove he could make Massachusetts a better and more prosperous state and frankly, he did that."