Whether you support the Democratic Party or Hillary Clinton, her visit to Williamson was an historic event.
Clinton is the first presidential candidate to visit Williamson, an old town dependent on the railroad and coal industries, since John F. Kennedy campaigned in the Mingo and Logan Counties back in 1960.
Lyndon Johnson visited nearby Martin County back in 1964 to launch his War On Poverty.
Jesse Jackson spent a night with a Logan County coal miner during one of his presidential runs back in the 1980s.
Ted Kennedy also made a couple of visits to Mingo County, one in the early 1990s.
But to have a front runner of one of the major political parties travel to a small town in southern West Virginia is special.
We know Clinton, the former Secretary of State and U.S. Senator is not popular with the working middle class, especially those laid off coal miners and their families. It took some nerve for Clinton to visit Williamson and Mingo County, one of the hardest hit parts of Appalachia when it comes to the struggling economy.
Clinton will likely defeat Senator Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination. She’ll go up against Donald Trump, Ted Cruz or whoever comes out of the Republican convention as the GOP nominee. There may even be a third party contender come November.
Clinton could very well become the first woman president in the history of the United States. She will already make history as the first woman to win a nomination in one of the two major political parties.
JFK won the nomination after his upset win over Hubert Humphrey back in 1960. The win catapulted him to the nomination and then he defeated Richard Nixon in the General Election. Unfortunately, he was assassinated in 1963.
However, JFK had a soft spot for West Virginia and if he would have stayed in office he would have likely pumped a lot of funds into rural Appalachia.
Clinton states that she has a plan to put out of work coal miners and others in different occupations. Let’s hope this is just not idle chatter and if she takes office in January of 2017 that she will immediately help our writhing economy.
Our region of the country is depressed and stressed. Thousands of coal miners have been laid off after many of the largest mining companies went out of business. That domino effect has hit the railroad, trucking industry, mine supply and machine shops and even our public education system with more job cuts.
This all happened under current Democratic president Barack Obama. Most expect the same to continue if Clinton and the Democrats win in November.
There is no doubt that West Virginia has turned from a blue state to a red state and the GOP nominee will probably win in the Mountain State.
But if Clinton does win, let’s hope she does not forget her promises made this week on her “Breaking Down Barriers” tour in Appalachia and especially in southern West Virginia.
(Kyle Lovern is the Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern)