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2017 RECLAIM Act - Larry, Hattie, and Sarah

This October, KFTC members Sarah Bowling, Larry Miller and Hattie Miller spent time in Washington, D.C. lobbying their congresspeople to pass the 2017 RECLAIM Act. These individuals have been part of KFTC’s effort to advance this legislation as a part of our desire to see a just transition in coalfield communities and for Kentucky. Will you share their words with your friends, donate to support this important work, or become a KFTC member and join them in this fight?


Hattie, Larry, Sarah, and Judge Executive Jim Ward meet with Megan Bell and Jake Johnson of Congressman Hal Rogers' Staff

A message from the Millers: 

My name is Larry Miller, and I am a retired coal miner from western Kentucky. I worked underground for 23 years and very proud of that work. As members of Kentuckians For The Commonwealth, my wife Hattie and I recently traveled to Capitol Hill to lobby for a couple of coalfield issues that are very important to us: the RECLAIM Act and The American Miners Pension Act. KFTC and other advocacy groups supported us, gave us lobbyist training and put us in front of political decision-makers to ask for their support on these issues. 

Political decisions on economic, cultural, environmental and immigration issues affect our lives more and more each day. That is why joining membership organizations is more important than ever. These “power-centers,” as I like to think about them, must contain certain empowering resources or be aligned with like-minded groups to be effective. They need to have a willingness to be on their members’ side, as well as allies, legal resources, skills to plan publicity strategies and campaigns, training and educational capabilities, media connections, and organizers with the ability to put you in front of political decision-makers. Big corporations, the elite, and the financially well-heeled already know this. They have been doing it for years. Individuals like us need to work together to be able to compete with these influences to push for legislation that matters to us. 

We know this works because, as members of another group, we have participated with my union to help pass legislation that won health care for our retired miners. So, as members of KFTC, Hattie and I now have two power-centers fighting for us on these issues that are critical to us. Joining KFTC was one of the best decisions we ever made– they gave us a voice to power that we were not in a position to do ourselves. KFTC is a power-center on our side.

Will you join us in this effort? Consider making a donation to help advance this critical work. Or, consider joining KFTC as a member or renewing your dues. We’d love your support in this endeavor, or for you to ask KFTC about support for issues that are close to your heart.

Yours truly,

Larry and Hattie Miller, Ohio County


A message from Sarah: 

"I think it's vitally important for grassroots folks to engage in the political process and continue to show up, because it illustrates to those in power that regular people do care about these issues enough to take time out of their busy lives to drive to the capitol and speak up.

As someone from eastern Kentucky, RECLAIM means the first step in the right direction for a just transition. A chance to begin the process of revitalization. A Just Transition is a new way forward for those folks who want to remain in eastern Kentucky and those folks who want to return. A way forward for a diversified economy, where the money stays in the region, and a sustainable source of energy that protects our environment, our workers, and our heritage. It is important for so many reasons. First and foremost because the people of central Appalachia deserve so much more than they are getting from our legislators. It is important because abandoned mine sites are health hazards. It is important because people and governments are struggling and the infusion of 102 million dollars would help both. Finally, RECLAIM is important as it was originally written because of its economic nexus, which prioritizes economic development. This would create jobs in the short-term around reclaiming mine sites and using skills that out-of-work miners already have. And, in the long term, jobs would be created by the businesses that take advantage of these reclaimed mine sites.

I invest my spare time working for this kind of change because I feel passionate about it. I gain so many things from engaging. For someone like me who hopes to work in the policy world professionally, there is no better classroom than a trip like this. Personally, I find it thrilling to simply sit by and watch the process. But I also do it for my family, who still resides in eastern Kentucky, who taught me to value and appreciate where we come from. I do it so my nephew can return home once he graduates college to a better place than he left. I do it because I love those hills and their people."

 - Sarah Bowling, Fayette County


Please click here to read more about Larry, Hattie, and Sarah's work around the RECLAIM Act, and here to support this work by donating, becoming a member, or renewing your KFTC membership. 

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