By MELINDA WILLIAMS
With no other Democrats filing by Tuesday’s 5 p.m. deadline, a coal company executive will represent the Democrats in an Aug. 19 special election to fill former Senator Phillip Puckett’s 38th District seat.
As a result, tonight’s planned mass meeting in Bluefield (Va.) is canceled.
“As a third generation coal miner and an executive with the James River Coal Co., Mike Hymes is the best candidate to protect our coal workers, coal jobs, and our way of life,” said Brian Hieatt, 38th District Democratic Chairman. “Democrats, Republicans and independents are really excited about having a true friend of coal running for this seat.”
Born in Bluefield, W.Va., Hymes spent his early years in a coal camp in Bishop before his family moved to Tazewell.
Hymes’ father and grandfather were coal miners. He worked in mines himself in McDowell County, W.Va. before becoming corporate director of human resources with James River Coal Co.
Hymes was elected to Tazewell County Board of Supervisors in 2006. He was re-elected in 2009 and 2013.
Puckett recently resigned from the Senate seat he held for 16 years, citing family reasons. His resignation resulted in passage of a state budget, but stalled Democrats’ efforts to expand Medicaid.