The coal industry would, according to all studies and reports of environmental policies supported by Hillary Clinton, suffer a huge blow under a Clinton presidency. Because of her views on coal and its impact on the environment, one Democratic West Virginia gubernatorial candidate, Jim Justice II, says he cannot and will not vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016.
In an interview with West Virginia’s Metro News “Talkline,” Justice stated that:
‘I cannot be a supporter of Hillary Clinton…The reason I can’t be is her position on coal is diametrically, completely wrong in many, many different ways.’
Justice is a candidate for whom parallels can be drawn to Donald Trump and his public messages. Justice has insisted, just as Trump has, that he does not “need” to be elected; he is doing so because the people need him.
‘I don’t need to be governor for me in any way, shape, form, or fashion. I need to be governor for West Virginia.’
Justice is also a wealthy businessman who inherited a fortune from his father, just like Donald Trump, who also uses his business acumen as the proof of his ability to lead and serve in public office. Justice is being truthful when he says he’s been successful; Forbes magazine listed him as the wealthiest person in West Virginia with a personal wealth total of over a $1.5 billion.
In that same piece on Justice, Forbes also listed Justice’s primary source of wealth: the coal industry.
Justice’s businesses also have a record of lawsuits for stiffing blue-collar workers on projects for which the wealthy businessman profited greatly, and for exploiting laborers, including disregarding safety regulations for the coal miners under his company’s employ. Coal mining is listed as the seventh most dangerous job in America, with a 2008 fatality rate of 34.8 on-the-job deaths per every 100,000 workers.
Justice also has various tax issues and a record of refusing to pay fines when his companies violate laws.
Pictures of seized mining equipment at Jim Justice owned coal mine for failure to pay $850k in Tazewell Co. taxes pic.twitter.com/5ac3CNsMvV
— Leslie Rubin (@LeslieRubinWCHS) March 4, 2016
Justice was, quite notably, a Republican until 2015, when he switched party affiliations.
The refusal to endorse Hillary Clinton in West Virginia is not likely to have any real impact on the November election. West Virginia is a solid red state with only five electoral college votes, and Real Clear Politics polling shows Donald Trump with a 27-point lead in the state, compared to his rapidly declining numbers nationally.
See one of the current political ads run in West Virginia against Jim Justice below:
Featured image via Getty/Michael Cohen