Supporters of America’s Power know we regularly ask them to share their story and explain the importance of coal to their communities and families. Reading their stories is the best aspect of my work, because I completely understand what our supporters mean when they say coal lights up their lives. As a native of coal country, I know their explanation is both literal and figurative, because coal did the exact same thing for me. Just like our followers shared their story with America’s Power, I want to share my story with all of you.
I say coal literally and figuratively lights up lives because for me, and countless others, it’s true. Coal literally kept the lights on when I was growing up in Kentucky, as it provides 92 percent of the state’s electricity. Figuratively, however, coal lights up my life because it gave me a better life.
Thanks to coal, my father had steady employment since the age of 19 and worked his way up to chief electrician of the mine where he was employed. The nights were long and the job was tough, but Dad always looked the same when he walked through our door – work-worn boots, mining light on his helmet, a check in his hand and a smile on his face. He’d hand the check to my mother and we knew all of our family’s needs would be met.
The skills my father developed as a miner helped him become a small business owner in 2007, and he and his partner John have seen great success as contractors for the refurbishment of mining equipment. My father is no longer a coal miner, yet coal still provides absolutely everything for my family. Our family story is a testament to the economic opportunity created by jobs both directly and indirectly related to coal mining. As the Obama Administration and its environmentalist allies place a target on the back of this industry – and consequently on the backs of hard-working Americans like my father – I feel even more compelled to share my story.
Be on the lookout for my personal blog series, “Growing Up With Coal,” where I will regularly share tidbits of my life as a coal miner’s daughter and weigh-in on environmental regulations from the perspective of someone who understands that for many coal isn’t just fuel, but a way of life.