In promoting Southern Illinois coal as an answer to the region’s high unemployment, congressional candidate Jason Plummer mentions someone who is not in the race. “I find it a bit ironic that we’re having a conference call regarding the war on coal the same day that Bill Enyart and Nancy Pelosi release a poll that they did the same week they hosted a fund-raiser, when Nancy Pelosi is the field marshal of the war on coal,”Plummer told reporters.
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For the record, Plummer, the lieutenant governor candidate for the Republicans in 2010, is running for Congress in the 12th District, which follows the Mississippi River from Alton to Cairo. Maj. Gen. William Enyart, who retired as Illinois National Guard commander to get into politics, is the Democratic candidate. Pelosi is the minority leader in the U. S. House. The seat is open because U. S. Rep. Jerry Costello (D-Belleville) is retiring.
“If you go to Pinckneyville, you go to Du Quoin, you go to Anna-Jonesboro, you go to Benton or West Frankfort or Marion or anywhere, the people of Southern Illinois get it. They’re the ones that are paying the price,” Plummer said in declaring that the Obama administration is waging “war on Southern Illinois jobs.”
Enyart was not available for an interview, but spokesman James McDonnough said he was authorized to speak on his behalf. “I have no idea where Mr. Plummer gets the idea that Bill Enyart would not be an advocate for coal,” said McDonnough. “He has said from the very beginning, repeatedly, that he understands the importance of coal to the Southern Illinois community, and that he would fight President Obama and the EPA, anytime, anywhere, to fight regulations that would hamper coal production in Southern Illinois.”
Does this mean the two candidates are on the same side when it comes to coal – that they agree? “That’s something, personally, that I don’t feel qualified to answer for the general,” said McDonnough.