I've lived here...fifty-seven years... And in that time, I've seen this town die. Bill Raney's association keeps talking about the prosperity of coal. Hell, I can't find it nowhere. I've looked everywhere for that prosperity. I can't find it. I can't find it nowhere. The more coal we mine, the poorer we get. Why? Can they explain that to me? I want my government and the coal industry to explain that to me. I just can't seem to get it. Maybe the coal dust is affecting my brain. I'm seeing, in this little town, buildings falling apart, boarded up. I've seen it all my life. The more coal we mine, the more mechanized they get, and the poorer we get. It's just about the same in every Appalachian town.
You take McDowell County, it was once one of the richest counties in the United States. It's now one of the poorest. I just can't find that prosperity. The coal industry says, “Aw, it's your government, they're stealing that coal severance from ye.” I say, well, let's go to the legislature and tell them we want the taxes to go back to the coal communities it come from. But they say, “Oh, no, you'll never get that, all the counties deserve that coal severance tax.” But are all of them breathing the coal dust, drinking the water we're drinking? They're all in on it together. In Appalachia, I think 98 percent of the politicians are corrupt. They owe their soul to coal.