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Congressman Evan Jenkins

Representing the 3rd District of West Virginia

REP. JENKINS: SAVE MINERS’ BENEFITS

March 9, 2017
Press Release
Speaks on House floor about visit to UMWA Career Center in Beckley

WASHINGTON – On the House floor Thursday, U.S. Representative Evan Jenkins (R-W.Va.) shared the story of a retired Raleigh County coal miner who he met at the UMWA Career Center last Friday.

Preston Thomas of Raleigh County mined coal for 36 years before retiring in 2010, and he relies on the benefits he earned to provide prescription drug coverage for his wife. If the miners’ healthcare benefits are allowed to expire, his wife will not have access to the medications she needs.

“Mr. Speaker, Preston is asking, I’m calling on Congress to keep the promise made to him, to his fellow miners, to their wives, to their husbands, to their widows. We must pass legislation I’ve cosponsored to protect these hard-earned benefits. I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this legislation and protecting hardworking miners like Preston,” Rep. Jenkins said on the House floor.

Please click here to watch the speech. The full transcript is below.

“Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I met last week with a group of West Virginia coal miners who are worried about their future. They are worried about their pension and healthcare benefits that will expire soon – benefits that they worked their whole lives to earn. Benefits the federal government promised to them more than 70 years ago.

“During our meeting at the UMWA Career Services Center in Beckley, I met Preston Thomas of Raleigh County. He spent 36 years in the mines before retiring in 2010. Preston relies on the healthcare benefits he earned to provide prescription drug coverage for his wife. If this coverage is allowed to expire in April, his wife will no longer have access to the medications she needs.

“Mr. Speaker, Preston is asking, I’m calling on Congress to keep the promise made to him, to his fellow miners, to their wives, to their husbands, to their widows. We must pass legislation I’ve cosponsored to protect these hard-earned benefits. I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this legislation and protecting hardworking miners like Preston.

“We owe it to all of them to keep our word. I yield back.”