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Johnson speaks at GOP rally

U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson turned what he calls “the war on coal” into a battle cry as he spoke to supporters Saturday morning at a rally at Republican Headquarters in Ironton.

Johnson was joined by coal miners from West Virginia who came to Lawrence County to join other Republicans to campaign door-to-door for the Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan presidential ticket.

“The fight to take back America is very, very real,” Johnson told about 25 supporters at the headquarters at the Ironton Hills Shopping Plaza. “All you have to do is look at what is happening around the world. The bad guys are probing, trying to find the soft underbelly of America. Our soft spot is our resolve. We went into World War I ill prepared, World War II ill prepared, Korea ill prepared; Vietnam ill prepared.”

America only shows her resolve in times of crisis,” the congressman said.

“If we would do it all the time, we would not have to do it as many times,” he said.

Looking around the headquarters at the coal miners in the audience, he called them American heroes.

“Those folks who have fueled the nation’s every need,” Johnson said.

Coal was also at the heart of the U.S. space exploration.

“It was the coal industry that fueled that era of unbelievable innovation,” he said.

However, Johnson cited what he described as excessive regulations as hamstringing the industry, saying that in 2015 energy prices will triple.

“If we want to see America prosper, we have to have regulation reform and tax reform,” he said.

In the audience were Mark Nelson and his son, Josh Nelson, both coal miners from Boone County, W.Va., who support the Romney campaign. Nelson has been in the mines for one year and is now laid off.

His son is still working and is a three-year veteran. Josh Nelson is also running for West Virginia House of Delegates.

“If someone is trying to bankrupt your industry, what do you do?” Josh Nelson said about why he is supporting Romney.