Since early February, the Coal Miner’s Movement facebook page has received more than 25,000 likes. It’s often said that behind every good man is a good woman. And if it wasn’t for Bob Sandidge’s wife, the Coal Miner’s Movement might not have happened. As he describes it, it all started due to conversation, similar to many that have probably happened around your home.
“In her work, she sees a lot of people and they talk to her. Golly, this person got laid off or this little store closed up. And night after night…and we’d continue on and it just didn’t seem to matter what anybody could do. It just seems like your up against it and on a sinking ship. And a couple weeks ago after Alliance had their big cut back, and anybody knows that when Alliance has cut backs, things are getting pretty critical. And we were talking one Saturday afternoon…she said, ‘Why don’t we launch a facebook page.”
The page was created on February 6th and before the weekend was over, there was already an outpouring of support and likes, not just from coal miners, but also many others in ancillary businesses affected by the coal industry from trucking companies to supply businesses. That all led to Bob’s first actual post.
“It looks like this is something that can’t be stopped. I don’t mind to do this, but we’re out in uncharted water. I’ve never done anything like this before and it might be the blind leading the blind, but I’m willing to go for it if everybody else is.”
In attendance at the first Town Hall included Senator Gary Forby, Representative Brandon Phelps, a spokesperson from Shimkus’ office and a laundry list of local elected officials and candidates. About 2/3 of the crowd were coal miners themselves, saluted with a round of applause.
The Coal Miners Movement has 5 what they call goals. They include:
- Stop the War on Coal
- Be on a Fair Playing Field with other Energy Sectors
- Investments in Clean Coal Technology
- Share the Positives of Coal to the Public
- Rid the Illusion that Coal is one of the Dirties Fuels
Sandidge and the movement are receiving consultant support from Michael Little, a Southern Illinois native working from Washington D.C. Sandidge says Movement leaders hope to make a trip to the capital in the next 3 months, though it could come as soon as the next few weeks.
Two more Town Hall meetings are planned in Kentucky in March. One will be held in hard hit Madisonville, KY on Thursday, March 3rd and in Pikeville, KY on Wednesday, March 23rd.
*Special thanks to sister station WEBQ’s Logan Boulds for providing sound and assistance with this story