Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito (R. WV-2), who is running for Senator Jay Rockefeller's (D. WV) seat, reassured everyone that she will continue being a puppet for big coal in the U.S. Senate:


"We've heard a lot about the different regulations that are out there that we've tried to battle back in the House and say, unacceptable; you can't regulate; you have to legislative, you have to let this body, the representatives of the people, decide who are going to make these decisions. We've already had 266 coal-fired power plants close.

I know we have the gentleman from Kentucky. We've got Virginia, West Virginia. Permitting has been very, very difficult. We've got regulators who are coming in and have yanked back one major permit retroactively. After the 10 years of going through all the permitting, all of the reissuing, all of the capital investment, the

EPA comes in and grabs back on that permit. The court said, no, you can't do that. And so we have an overreaching EPA that is willing to overreach into the legal area until the courts say, no more.

Now we've worked in the House to try to stop this war on coal. We've passed a lot of things. We did pass the Stop the War on Coal Act last September. Unfortunately, the Senate did not act on this. It's sort of a bit of a repeating theme for us in the House.

But the administration is seeking to turn us away from coal and keep the war on coal and drive up energy prices. People around the world are buying West Virginia coal. Our exports in the Nation almost doubled since 2006, and in West Virginia we exported more than $5 billion of West Virginia coal. Now we all know it's going to China because they have an insatiable demand, right? Guess where else it's going? Europe, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany. These are countries that are going to use our cheaper resource to power themselves into a burgeoning economy, and we're going to disadvantage ourselves here with our own natural resources.

So the rest of the world wants American coal.

I want to thank all of my colleagues here for fighting the good fight. We have a lot of miners and their families, other business folks, jobs, manufacturers, and elderly folks who understand what it means to try to have availability of cheaper energy resources. We've got a whole lot of America behind us. This is the reason the opportunity to talk about these things tonight, I think, sends a powerful message across the Congress, across to the Senate, across to the President that really an all-of-the-above energy plan does include coal, must include coal, and we're going to fight like heck to make sure it does." - Utility Products, 4/19/13

I'll be pragmatic here, the coal industry is going to win this race either way.  West Virginia is coal country.  Plus the one mentioned potential candidate against Capito is also very coal friendly:


Though for the last several weeks, Democratic hopes of retaining Sen. Jay Rockefeller's seat in 2014 have looked bleak, it seems party operatives may have finally found their unicorn in West Virginia: a wealthy, pro-coal, pro-business Democrat in the style of Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V. Attorney Nick Preservati has spoken with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee about running for the seat, in conversations that the committee found "encouraging," according to a source with knowledge of the discussions.

Preservati could be an answer to Democrats' prayers. While Republicans seem to have already coalesced around Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, several potential Democratic contenders have indicated that they will take a pass, including former interim Sen. Carte Goodwin, former Gov. Gaston Caperton and Rep. Nick Rahall. Though Rahall hasn't expressly ruled out a bid, he sounds increasingly likely to run for reelection instead and few state Democrats expect him to run for the Senate seat.

Preservati and his family have long been involved in the coal mining industry in the southern part of the state, potentially disarming a potent line of attack for Republicans. Coal is a major industry in the state and the issue has been used to hurt Democratic candidates in recent cycles. In fact, NRSC executive director Rob Collins indicated on the day that Rockefeller announced his retirement that Republicans would try to make it an issue again, saying, "Voters next year will have a clear choice between a Democrat who will be a loyal vote for President Obama and Harry Reid as they try to kill West Virginia's coal industry and bankrupt our country with reckless government spending, versus a Republican who will serve as an effective check-and-balance on their liberal agenda and work to get our country's economy back on track."

"I'm not sure there's much difference between Shelley's position on coal and Nick Preservati's position and Joe Manchin's position," former state Democratic Party chairman Nick Casey said. - National Journal, 3/20/13

But I still believe that we need to fight for this seat, not just for the sake of holding onto the Senate but also to look out for the safety of coal miners.  I don't know how trust worthy Capito will be in looking out for coal miners.  Rockefeller and Senator Joe Manchin (D. WV) care about the coal miners because they are on their side in the Patriot Coal bankruptcy case:


“I have been in the union for 40 years and I have never been as scared in my life as I am right now,” says retired miner and United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) member David Bella of Boone County, West Virginia. Depending on a court’s decision in the pending bankruptcy case of Patriot Coal, Bella’s pension and retirement benefits could be wiped out, along with those of 20,000 other beneficiaries.

To the UMWA, that loss is only one piece of the grave threat posed by the Patriot Coal bankruptcy. The miners union has filed suit claiming that Arch Coal and Peabody Energy designed Patriot Coal to fail—then shifted over a billion dollars in pension and retiree health care debts to Patriot as a ploy to get out of those obligations. The UMWA fears if Peabody and Arch get away with spinning off their obligations to a company designed to collapse, more coal companies will take similar measures.

UMWA faces a separate challenge with regard to health care benefits for Patriot retirees. Unlike the multi-employer pension plan, health care plans are individual to each employer, which means that unless the judge rules in the miners' favor, health care benefits will simply evaporate for all workers who retired after 1992 (under the COAL Act, the federal government covers health care for miners who retired before 1992).

In addition to applying corporate pressure, the UMWA is hoping to enlist some legislative pressure to create a failsafe to protect coal miners from future Patriot-style bankruptcies. Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Rep. Nick J. Rahall (D-W.Va.) have introduced the Coalfield Accountability and Retired Employee Act that would save the Patriot Coal retirees’ benefits. The bill would make it tougher for coal companies to get out of obligations to retirees, extend retirement protections from the 1992 COAL Act to miners who retired after 1992, and transferred unused funds from the federal Abandoned Mine Land fund to shore up the insolvency.
But with Republicans controlling the House, the UMWA remains pessimistic that such a bill could pass. Thus, Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is calling upon President Obama to get involved in the fight to maintain the pension benefits of Patriot Coal retirees.

“This country wasn’t built on having laws on the books that basically protected those that don’t need protection, by sacrificing those who basically have given their whole life to something,” Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) told Working In These Times after the Charleston rally. “This is a national issue. The President is a leader. Leadership has got to start at the top.” - Common Dreams, 4/12/13

The big question is where does Capito stand on this issue?  That question has been surfacing in local press:


The elected officials who spoke at the rally were WV Senators, Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin. WV Congressman Nick Rahall. WV Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and WV Sec. of State Natalie Tennant.

It was during this rally that I heard of the Coal Accountability and Retired Employee or CARE Act. This Bill introduced by Senator Rockefeller is co- sponsored by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) OH, Sen. Joe Manchin (D) WV, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) MA. Congressman Nick Rahall also expressed his support for this Bill.

My question is, will the Republicans elected to congress from our area, who speak of how coal friendly they are, such as Cong. David McKinley, Cong. Bill Johnson (OH) and Cong. Shelley Moore Capito (WV) also support this legislation, and stop Peabody and Arch Coal from stealing healthcare benefits from 10,000 retirees, widows, and orphans? Or are they just friends of coal companies, not coal miners? - Times Leader, 4/8/13

Capito's silence on this issue to me shows that she's more of a friend to the coal companies than the miners.  Plus there's a lot of evidence that she's not a friend of the middle or working class.  She keeps lying about Obamacare:


When the bill's series of mandates and tax increases are fully implemented in January 2014, Americans of all ages and incomes will be faced with the daunting realization that our nation's health-care system will never be the same.

Employers and their employees will be hit hard by the upcoming mandates and tax increases. Not only will they provide a strong disincentive for businesses to grow and provide jobs, but they will lead to lower wages for many workers. They will also cause an estimated 7 million Americans to lose the employer sponsored health coverage that they currently enjoy. And sadly, even companies that comply with employer mandates are not exempt from increased fees. Many are just learning that employers will also be forced to pay a yearly fee over the next three years for every employee that receives insurance.

It's not just businesses and their employers who will bear the brunt of this misguided law -- Americans of all ages will be affected. Younger Americans will feel the pinch as their insurance premiums rise and seniors' care will be deeply harmed by the $716 billion in cuts to Medicare that were used to partially finance the $2 trillion law. President Obama's own Medicare actuaries estimate that 15 percent of all hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and home health facilities will be unable to serve Medicare patients by 2019, and this figure will increase to 40 percent in 2050.

Families and single individuals of all income levels will see their premiums increase. Nationwide, single adults between the ages of 21 and 29 who earn at least $25,000 per year and buy insurance in the individual market will see their premiums increase next year by an average of 42 percent. In West Virginia, the average health-insurance premium in the individual market will increase by 56 percent. Despite the president's promises of insuring families of lower income levels, families earning $46,000 may not qualify for government subsidies and will therefore bear the full cost of these premium increases. - Shelley Moore Capito (R. WV-02), The Charleston Gazette, 4/20/13

Plus, she's the only West Virginia representative to vote for the Paul Ryan budget:


Congresswoman Capito was the lone WV representative to support Paul Ryan's partisan fairytale in the House of Representatives this past week.  Congressman Rahall and Congressman McKinley (also a Republican) voted against the bill.  Concerning the partisan vote, McKinley stated:

    The people of the First District sent me to Congress to represent everybody, not just one political party. With every decision and action I take in Congress, I keep this in mind. Unfortunately, too many people in Washington don't think this way and get caught up in partisan gamesmanship...Any solution to the challenges this country faces, whether it is deficit reduction, tax reform, or reforms to welfare or Medicare, will need to be bipartisan in nature.

Capito's vote is further evidence of her fear of a challenge from the Right and how out of touch living in Washington for 13 years has made her with West Virginia's needs.  

Concerning the significant budgetary harm Ryan and Capito's budget creates for West Virginians, McKinley went on to say:

    *The budget leaves in place $716 billion in cuts to Medicare

    *The budget lacks reform to foreign aid, but will hurt America's investments in our own infrastructure.

    *The budget fails to adequately protect agencies and programs important to the First District, including the FBI and NIOSH, from disproportionate cuts. - West Virginia Blue, 3/23/13

As chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, she has been attacking the Dodd-Frank Act:


“The challenges facing community banks across the nation are not new,” Shelley Moore Capito, the chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, said. “Every time our nation experiences a financial crisis Congress, responds with new regulations and in some cases new agencies. Rather than identifying outdated, unnecessary or overly burdensome regulations while formulating new policies, too often the response is to pile new regulations on top of the old. We are seeing this now as the Dodd-Frank Act is implemented by federal financial regulatory agencies. Unfortunately the growing regulatory burden is having a real effect on communities across the nation. The more time and resources community bankers devote to compliance, the less time they have to work with their communities to drive innovation and economic growth. This is especially troubling given that community banks provide 46 percent of the industry’s small denomination loans to farms and businesses. These types of loans are often labor intensive and the strong relationships community bankers have with their clients allows them to provide tailored products.” - Bank Credit News, 4/18/13
And of course, Capito vote against raising the minimum wage:


State Democrats are saying Republican U.S. Reps. David McKinley and Shelley Moore Capito voted against a bill that would raise the national minimum wage, while the lawmakers believe the vote was a bit of political maneuvering to make certain people look bad.

Jacob Winowich, executive director of the West Virginia Democratic Party, said Monday Capito and McKinley voted down a measure to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour over three years.

"Congressional members Capito and McKinley have taken a page from John Raese's playbook claiming hardworking West Virginians do not deserve a fair wage for an honest days work," he said. "Capito and McKinley who make $174,000 a year are clearly unwilling to help hard working West Virginians.

''The very people that bag their groceries, prepare their meals at the local restaurants, and got them elected apparently don't do enough to warrant a livable wage.''

The state's only Democratic representative, Nick Rahall, voted for it, Winowich said. - News and Sentinel, 3/19/13

So it's clear that Capito isn't on the side of the workers or West Virginia's middle and working class voters.  She's the preferred candidate of the coal companies and the Chamber of Commerce:


Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., will receive the U.S Chamber of Commerce's Spirit of Enterprise Award.

The U.S. Chamber will meet with the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce and local business leaders April 22 to present the award. This is the first time the Spirit of Enterprise Award has been presented outside of Washington, D.C.

Business leaders on hand at Monday's event will include Steve Roberts, president of the West Virginia Chamber; Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the Institute for 21st Century Energy with the U.S. Chamber; Rob Engstorm, senior vie president and national policy director for the U.S. Chamber; and Ron Eidshaug, vice president of congressional and public affairs for the U.S. Chamber. - The State Journal, 4/19/13

But Capito is still the number one target of the Club for Growth for her record on spending and earmarks.  Especially her secret spending:


A ThinkProgress review of lettermark requests — letters by Members of Congress to executive branch agencies requesting specific spending — found multiple letters from Capito to the Obama administration requesting grants. In a September 2011 letter to the Department of Energy, for instance, she endorsed SunShot Initiative grant request for her home state. The state later received a $500,000 grant under the program. Another Capito letter that year to Energy Secretary Steven Chu endorsed a proposal for the department’s Innovative Manufacturing Initiative.

While Capito quietly continues to push for spending on projects she deems worthy, she now presents herself publicly as a budget hawk. In a 2011 floor speech, she said: “Mr. Speaker, we’re broke. Everyone from the small business owner in West Virginia to Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s is looking to Washington to solve this fiscal mess.” In a tweet that year, she opined: “The President will not get my vote to raise the debt ceiling unless we cut spending. It’s time to start living within our means.” Federal spending has increased every year, despite earmark ban.

In the past, Capito was a strong defender of earmarking — the system Congress used to direct federal spending toward specific projects and locations. According to Taxpayers for Common Sense, she obtained more than $33 million in earmarks spending between 2008 and 2010 (on her own or with colleagues). Several of her earmarks benefited her campaign donors. - Think Progress, 4/1/13

Now Capito's off to a great start in fundraising with $2.35 million in cash on hand but that's not going to scare off a challenger from the right, which Capito recently received one:


A former Republican in the West Virginia House of Delegates announced Tuesday he will try to best U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., in the race for the U.S. Senate seat to be vacated by retiring U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.

Pat McGeehan announced via Twitter and a radio show in Huntington Tuesday morning he wants to run for Senate. He included a short statement with the tweet.

McGeehan made no mention of Capito–seemingly the favorite in the race at this point–in his statement. However, he seemingly tried to show his stance as the more conservative option to the longtime congresswoman:

    “I think West Virginians deserve a candidate that will truly represent their views. I am a pro-life, pro-gun, pro-coal conservative that believes government today is too overreaching. That is why I am running for U.S. Senate in West Virginia.” - Daily Mail, 4/9/13

I don't know yet if McGeehan is the answer the Club for Growth is looking for but at least they have an option now.  Plus I'm waiting to see what this four time Senate loser is going to do:


Morgantown businessman John Raese filed a formal protest Friday over West Virginia University's bid for a new media rights contract, while accusing WVU leaders of operating under a "veil of secrecy."

Raese, whose radio company was an unsuccessful bidder for WVU's third-tier media rights, urged the university's Board of Governors to disqualify IMG College from bidding a second time.

Earlier this week, WVU announced it would re-bid the multimillion-dollar contract after West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey released a report concluding that university officials -- including athletic director Oliver Luck and Board of Governor's Chairman Drew Payne -- violated purchasing and ethics rules while reaching a deal with Winston Salem, N.C.-based IMG College.

"Luck's overall management of the media rights bid proposal has led WVU to its biggest, most embarrassing procurement mess in school history," Raese told WVU board members in a letter sent Friday. - West Virginia Gazette, 4/19/13

I'm also waiting to see what my ideal candidate, West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant (D. WV), is going to do.  You can read about her here:


It's still too early to tell and a lot can happen between now and next year.  But the West Virginia Senate race shouldn't be viewed as a lost cause.  No, we aren't going to an environmentally friendly Democrat but this race is about looking out for unions, workers and the middle-class.  Despite West Virginia being a red state, this is still our turf and Democrats have control of the local government because they look out for the coal workers.  I don't believe Capito is on their side, her record proves it.  That's what's going to be the big issue in the general election.  However, Capito was spared having to show her true colors on gun control issues like background checks when the Senate voted down the Manchin-Toomey bill.  But hearing her thoughts on the bill, she may have chickened out and vote against it had it come up in the House:


U.S. Representative Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) addresses the American Banker Regulatory Symposium in Washington September 20, 2011.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst   (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS)
She isn’t shooting down the Toomey-Manchin Amendment but Second District Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito isn’t a fan of the gun control measure introduced last week

The amendment calls for background checks on all firearms purchased at gunshows and online. It expands the process that’s already in place for buying a gun from a licensed dealer.

Capito says it’s important to take the pulse of her constituants on this type of issue and she’s getting an earful.

“Our phones are ringing off the hook,” according to Capito. “West Virginians are extremely concerned about whether this is affective anyway, whether this will solve the problem but also about the fundemental right to bear arms.”

Some have criticized the amendment for going too far, others for it not going far enough.

Capito is one of the former. She says there are other ways to prevent gun tragedies from occuring without changing the current gun law.

“I’d like us to see the improvement of mental health care, prosecute on violations of our existing gun laws, targeting violence in our cities. Violence in the media is something that troubles me.” - West Virginia Metro News, 4/15/13

But Capito will still be tested on that issue if she wants to survive the primary.  Manchin, a long time friend of the NRA, was man enough to get behind background checks.  Hopefully we'll know where Capito really stands on this issue before 2014.  But the CLub for Growth isn't the only big organization that has made Capito a top target:


EMILY's List, the group that works to support progressive female candidates, is adding five lawmakers to its list of top targets going into 2014, due to what the group calls their "appallingly anti-woman, anti-family records" and the availability of a strong challenger.

The group is highlighting Reps. Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), Rodney Davis (Ill.), Gary Miller (Calif.), Daniel Webster (Fla.) and Bill Young (Fla.).

Capito announced late last year that she will be running for retiring Sen. Jay Rockefeller's (D-W.Va.) seat, giving both parties an open seat to pursue. - The Hill, 1/29/13

Capito is the definitive establishment candidate which makes her a big target and I think makes her very vulnerable.  Tea Party types don't like being told who to vote for so guys like Raese and McGeehan have a shot to stand up to the establishment.  We shall have to wait and see.  

Senator Rockefeller called out the coal companies propaganda campaign to scare people into believe that EPA regulations aimed at cleaning up the coal companies are bad for the economy last year.  This was a sign that Rockefeller's Senate career was coming to an end.  But he's still spending the rest of his time in the Senate looking out for consumers:


Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) announced that he will hold a hearing next Wednesday afternoon to push for a feature that would allow users to opt out of online tracking.

“I strongly believe that consumers should be able to manage whether online companies collect their personal information,” Rockefeller said in a statement.

At a White House event in early 2012, a coalition of Internet companies said they would work together to voluntarily implement a Do Not Track option for users.

But more than a year of talks between advertisers, browser makers and other Internet companies has failed to produce an agreement.

"Industry made a public commitment to honor Do-Not-Track requests from consumers but has not yet followed through," Rockefeller said. "I plan to use this hearing to find out what is holding up the development of voluntary Do-Not-Track standards that should have been adopted at the end of last year.” - The Hill, 4/17/13

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