Thursday, November 09, 2006

What the Election May Mean for MSHA

Late yesterday AP finally reported that Jim Webb defeated George Allen here in Virginia. By then, Webb's lead as reflected on the state's official website had been over 7,300 votes and essentially stable all day long. For some reason Sen. Allen still had not "decided to end the campaign" according to a staffer speaking anonymously. However, everyone seems to be moving on.

Results for miners: Assistant Secretary for MSHA Richard M. Stickler, recently installed by recess appointment despite Senatorial and other objections, now has a little over a year to prove himself a fair and effective administrator before that appointment expires.

If he can do that, he might possibly earn reappointment for another year with the consent of the Democratic Senate. There will greater pressure to accomodate a variety of views, especially those of labor.

By the way, the coalfield counties of Dickenson and Buchanan went for Webb, as well as the city of Norton. When UMWA President Cecil Roberts campaigned for Jim Webb there there days ago, the Virginian- Pilot reported, the Buchanan County high school auditorium "shook like a revival tent."

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