McConnell to host former coal miner at State of the Union Address

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Howard Abshire
Howard Abshire

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WTVQ) – A 4th-generation coal miner, Howard Abshire of Pike County, will be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s guest at the President’s State of the Union address on Tuesday.

Abshire, who lost his job at Fortress Resources after the McCoy Elkhorn Division mine shut down, is currently employed in eastern Kentucky working to remove mining equipment from closed mines.  He is a graduate of Pikeville College, and was an intern for U.S. Congressman Carl D. Perkins (D-Ky.)

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“I am honored that Howard accepted my invitation to attend the President’s final State of the Union Address, and I am glad to welcome him and his wife, Wray Lyn, to the U.S. Capitol,” Senator McConnell said.  McConnell says Abshire’s story is a familiar one for thousands of Kentuckians, whom he says have lost jobs due to the President’s “War on Coal.”

“I want to thank Senator McConnell for thinking of eastern Kentucky and inviting me and my wife to attend the State of the Union address. It is a privilege to represent the coal miners in Kentucky at this historic event,” Abshire said.

Abshire participated in Senator McConnell’s listening session in Pikeville back in 2013.  At the event, he raised a piece of coal in the air, stating, “This is coal… this keeps the lights on. We’re hurting. We need help. We don’t want to be bailed out. We want to work.”