Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin reacts to crowd support during the Democratic primary election party Saturday, May 14, 2011 in Charleston, W.Va. Tomblin will represent the Democrats during October’s special gubernatorial election. (AP Photo/Jeff Gentner)
On Saturday night, sometime between the time the AP called the Democratic gubernatorial primary for Earl Ray Tomblin and when Tomblin’s victory celebration kicked into gear, a family in his native Logan County was getting some terrible news.
According to the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration:
This evening at about 8:15 EDT, a surface miner was killed at the Guyan Mine, Apogee Coal, after being pinned underneath the counter weight on the rear of a 992G loader. The miner was crushed by counter weight. A 103j Order has been issued and an inspector was dispatched to the mine. An investigation will be conducted.
State officials later identified the miner as a Mr. Richard L Young, 37.
While acting as governor, Senate President Tomblin hasn’t shown a lot of interest in coal-mine safety. He’s among the West Virginia political leaders who tries to convince the public that preventing disasters is something only the good Lord can do. As most politicians do, he likes to pose with fancy emergency vehicles, but he’s shown little taste for pushing any sort of reforms of mine safety laws and enforcement that leave West Virginia with among the worst safety and health records in the country.
(Not for nothing, but Earl Ray Tomblin has been in the Legislature since 1975 and he’s been Senate President since 1995 … His home county of Logan is consistently one of the state’s largest coal producers. At the same time, the county has a median household income that’s about one-third lower than the national average. One-quarter of the county’s residents live in poverty).