Since the election returns were counted, two names have been about the only ones mentioned as being in serious contention to be President Barack Obama’s pick to run the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration.
Davitt McAteer, the longtime mine safety advocate who ran MSHA during the Clinton administration; and Joe Main, the UMW’s now-retired longtime safety and health director.
Initially, word was that the UMW was staying out of whatever fight was brewing over whether McAteer or Main would get the job. Either McAteer or Main would be fine with them. At least that’s what most sources were saying.
But now, the UMW has come outÂ in favor of Main. According to Phil Smith, spokesman for UMW President Cecil Roberts:
Yes, we have endorsed Joe Main for Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine
Safety and Health, and have communicated that endorsement directly to
President Obama. I wouldn’t characterize it as picking one person over
another, we just believe that there is no one better qualified than Joe
for the job.
[UPDATED: Phil Smith was kind enough to forward a copy of the UMW’s letter to President Obama, so I’ve posted it here.]