Coal Miner Killer Running for US Senate
HuffPost interviews victims in West Virginia
Next Tuesday, voters in West Virginia will head to the polls to vote in the state's primary. Republican voters will see the name Don Blankenship on the ballot in the Senate primary. Blankenship, the former CEO of Massey Energy, is only seven months removed from serving a year in jail following the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster.
At the time of Blankenship’s sentencing, UCOMM reported on Tommy Davis. A coal miner at Upper Big Branch, Davis was walking out of the mine when he heard an explosion behind him. While he got out of the mine with his life, his son, brother and nephew all died in the collapse. Below is a video of Davis reacting to the one-year sentence.
Blankenship has been spending millions of dollars to re-write the history of the Upper Big Branch disaster. He has been running tv and radio ads blaming the Mine Safety and Health Administration, lying about what really happened and blaming Senator Joe Manchin for personally putting him in jail. At the time of the disaster, Manchin was Governor of West Virginia. He has even gone so far as declaring himself a political prisoner while he sat in a low-security prison in California.
On the campaign trail, survivors of the mine collapse have been going to events to remind voters about the real Don Blankenship. HuffPost recently sat down with Davis as he headed to a Blankenship event just across the river from Davis’ home. Standing outside of the community center, Davis stood with a sign reading “Cory Davis 5/22/89-4/5/10 Don Blankenship Murders him for Coal.” Instead of talking with Davis, when Blankenship saw Davis he turned and ran away, choosing to go out of another exit.
In the 8 years since the disaster, Davis has worked to keep the memory of his lost family members alive. He has 29 crosses tattooed on his body to remember the fallen. He attended nearly every day of the trial wearing the same plaid shirt with a green jacket and an Under Armour hat. Davis even set up a scholarship fund in his son’s name at the local high school.
While Davis is spending every day struggling to cope and get by, Blankenship is spending millions to cover up the real story of his company’s failure to follow safety rules in the name of profit. On Tuesday, West Virginia voters will decide if those are the qualities they want from their Senator.
Click here to read the full heart wrenching sit down interview with Tommy Davis from HuffPost.