Here in West Virginia and East Ohio, it is easy to understand why so many people are enthusiastic about Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate for president. Unlike President Barack Obama, Romney realizes a bright future for the coal industry means a bright future for America.
There is much more to Romney's appeal, however, as he demonstrated Tuesday during a visit to Belmont County.
Speaking to a crowd of hundreds of people at the Century Mine near Beallsville, Romney focused his criticism of Obama on energy policy. Most of those in his audience were coal miners and their families, who responded with applause and cheers.
During the past few weeks, the Obama campaign has tried hard to convince voters in the coalfields Romney's policies would not be good for them. That is an insult to the intelligence of voters in areas such as ours. Obama has made it clear he is out to wreck the coal industry, and with it any hope Americans have of energy independence and reasonable prices for electricity.
On that issue, the difference between Romney and Obama could not be more clear. The president himself made that clear Tuesday during a campaign stop in Iowa, where he actually boasted about using government resources to help the wind power industry - and made fun of Romney's skepticism regarding "alternative" energy.
But in Belmont County, Romney talked about much more than coal, with virtually every sentence adding new reasons to vote against Obama this fall.
The nation's staggering debt, the need for tax reform, better schools, adequate national defense, fair trade and health care were just some of the issues on which Romney touched while in the Ohio Valley.
With each comment, those in the crowd heard more to differentiate Romney from Obama. For example, Romney wants to reduce spending and build the economy to reduce the debt. Since Obama took office, the national debt has grown by about $5.4 trillion to a total of $16 trillion.
"He and I have very different visions of America," Romney said of the president. Obama has made it clear his vision is one of much larger government, funded on the backs of working Americans and a debt that will be crushing to our children and grandchildren. Romney's plan is for a return to the ideals that made this country great - not just in terms of energy but in dozens of other policies, too.
As Romney reminded those listening to him in Belmont County, Obama's bias against coal is bad enough. But even without that, voters have many other reasons to send Romney to the White House.