In eastern Ohio, coal fuels discontent with Obama – by Patrick Martin (Globe and Mail – October 18, 2012)

Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

CADIZ, OHIO — The people of this eastern Ohio region believe they are at war – with the Obama administration. Which is odd, considering that about 75 per cent of the men and women in the area routinely vote Democrat, and they supported Barack Obama in 2008 in large numbers.

The war is over coal and the administration’s policies to curtail its use in heating and power generation. Those are fighting words to this blue-collar district whose men have mined coal for more than a century and all of whose citizens have a stake in the mining and related industries.

The issue is so worrisome that many of those life-long Democrats are casting their ballots this election against Mr. Obama – one of the factors that is putting into doubt a repeat of the President’s decisive 2008 victory in this key swing state.

“It made me change my vote,” said Democrat Hooty McKee, a 50-something miner at the Hopedale Mine, 10 kilometres north of Cadiz. Not surprisingly, some of the 170 workers at the mine are distributing lawns signs for people to display: “Stop the War on Coal – FIRE OBAMA,” they all read.

And while Hopedale is a non-union operation, even the area’s unions – mineworkers and others – are helping in the campaign, despite the Obama administration’s generally pro-union policies.

And not just miners are voting against Mr. Obama.

“I already did,” said Dwayne Davis, a retired teacher, and an independent voter. “I only vote when the national situation is really bad,” he said. “I voted against Jimmy Carter in 1980 [casting his ballot for Ronald Reagan], and I voted against Obama last week [in early balloting].”

“This whole region needs the industry,” said librarian Greta Christian, a registered Democrat. Ms. Christian says she’s not sure she can vote for the man she helped elect last time. “I just don’t know,” she said, a look of pain on her face.

Dorothy Glover and her husband, Bob, registered independents, were so incensed by what is happening they paid to have a billboard advertisement placed on Highway 22 denouncing Obama policies.

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