Meet the coal miner’s daughter taking on Joe Manchin for Senate in West Virginia

Source: In These Times
by Ed Rampell

“On Dec. 27, 2017, self-professed ‘hillbilly’ Paula Jean Swearengin flew from her hometown of West Virginia to the posh enclave of Beverly Hills, Calif., to participate in a forum of reform-minded women running for Congress. But Swearengin, who is running in the Democratic primary for West Virginia Senate against incumbent Joe Manchin, has more in common with feisty fictional Southern union organizer Norma Rae than with the Clampetts of ‘Beverly Hillbillies.’ Unlike the oil rich Clampetts who struck ‘black gold’ on their land, Swearengin is critical of the energy industry, especially coal, which she told the forum’s standing room-only crowd had led to her relatives’ deaths by way of black lung disease. ‘I saw my grandfather suffocate to death,’ thundered the 43-year-old single mother of four. ‘I’m not going to worship a black rock.'” (01/11/18)