Mother and activist Teri Blanton spoke only briefly to the crowd, introducing the keynote speaker. She made sure to stress, "we're friends of mountains and miners." Blanton, a former KFTC president, was involved in last summer's sit-in at Representative Hal Rogers' office in Washington, where Rogers was notably unavailable to meet with his constituents from Kentucky about MTR concerns. Flour Sack Mama contacted both Rogers' office and Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear's office for responses to this year's I Love Mountains rally.
It's fitting that Valentine's Day has become I Love Mountains Day for so many Kentuckians. Their stories of love, loss and hope are as numerous as the mountain peaks used to be. House shared that he's the grandson of a miner who was injured on the job then retrained himself for success as a farmer and craftsman. House supports retraining for out-of-work miners, many who lost their jobs when MTR replaced underground mining. He's also deeply concerned about the health-related issues like water quality. Like the characters in House's novel Coal Tattoo, Kentuckians have long dealt with these issues neighbor versus neighbor, especially when local jobs were at stake. Now, they face fewer mining jobs, more poverty, and looming questions of how much longer a region can allow itself to be destroyed to produce cheap energy. The novelist spoke with a passion for the land he loves, “They have no idea that the harder they push us,
the stronger we become, an undefeatable spirit like the mountains themselves.”
...more encouraging words for fellow Kentuckians from beloved author Silas House