WILLIAMSON, W.Va. – On May 17, the Democratic Party will decide who it wants as a Presidential Nominee. With just a couple of weeks until the Primary Election, Democratic Presidential frontrunner candidate Hillary Clinton, along with husband Former President Bill Clinton, made their way to Ashland and Williamson, W.Va. on Monday. The stops were part of Hillary Clinton’s Breaking Down Barriers tour. The goal of Hillary Clinton’s two-day visit was to speak to small groups of voters and discuss jobs and the economy and her plans for a better future for coal miners and steel workers. Ashland has endured a collapsing economy which has caused a trickle-down effect, due to the loss of jobs in the mining and steel industry.
During her first event in Ashland, Hillary Clinton met with workers at Alma’s Italian Cafe, where she outlined her plan to help coal communities. She arrived at the restaurant around 1 p.m., about 15 minutes late. People were lined on the sidewalk across from the eatery and she spent several minutes speaking to them. There were a few protesters, who shouted to her, “Go home.”
The Clinton campaign encountered the same reception as it rolled into Williamson, W.Va. Hillary Clinton spent Monday evening touring the Williamson Health and Wellness Center. She also met with retired mine workers and community members in the area.
A portion of Hillary Clinton’s plan consists of a $30 billion dollar program aimed at helping coal miners. She compared her plan to the “Marshall Plan,” the plan that rebuilt Western Europe following World War II, saying that the three main parts would protect health and pension benefits of miners, research how coal can be a clean part of America’s energy future and invest in alternative energy. She has also pledged to hire a trade prosecutor to crack down on dumping on cheap steel in America.
Concerns from the public consisted mainly about jobs and worries of the unemployed going without insurance. Hillary Clinton said she will examine the possibility of the federal government offering health insurance extensions to such people. Another topic that the presidential hopeful discussed included her support for refinancing of student loans and suggested that student loan payments should be calculated as a percentage of a person’s income. She also said she wants the public to hold her accountable for all her campaign pledges.
Andrea Saddler is a reporter for the Floyd County Times. She can be reached at (606) 886-8506.