Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

Local News

December 4, 2013

Workers meet with Grimes

Talk over Big Sandy plant concerns

Dec. 4, 2013 — LOUISA - A number of workers and union representatives met with U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes Monday to share their worries about the impending closure of American Electric Power’s Big Sandy Power Plant and its effect on the region.

The workers met with Grimes during a swing through northeast Kentucky that included stops in Ashland and Olive Hill.

Workers who were there got a chance to talk to Grimes about the human cost of closing the plant, according to Daven Copeland, who was laid off from his contract job at the plant on Wednesday.

The meeting was productive. She did more listening than talking. She asked about families and how they are impacted,” Copeland said.

Copeland said the work he has done at the plant over the years since 2002 allowed him to build a life and a home in the Grayson area, to marry and start a family there. Closing the plant will shrink his work opportunities and he is more likely to have to travel out of the area for work, he thinks.

Louisa and Lawrence County already are bracing for a heavy economic blow, but surrounding communities also will suffer, and that is what workers wanted Grimes to understand, according to Don Sammons, who lives in the Grayson area. “The big thing is that it is going to be devastating to the tax base in Lawrence County, but it will hurt a lot of the surrounding communities as well,” he said.

Workers were able to add significant depth to Grimes’ understanding of the trickle-down effect on the local economy, like the $100 lunch orders workers typically place at local restaurants, Copeland said.

“Ms. Grimes seemed very concerned about the workers and the loss of tax base and the effect on education in Lawrence County,” said Anthony Holbrook, business representative for the Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters. Grimes was receptive to workers’ ideas on trying to change closure plans, said Holbrook, a millwright by trade.

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