West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant officially entered the U.S. Senate race. The Democrat announced her candidacy in front of about 100 supporters at the Tamarack Conference Center in Beckley Tuesday.
“I am here after serious thought intense conversations with my family and a whole lot of prayer," Tennant said, "I am here today to tell you that I’m running for the United States Senate.”
After walking through a crowd of democrats, Natalie Tennant took the podium to share some of her views on national political issues.
Tennant quickly broke ranks with her party, saying she disagrees with some of President Barack Obama's policies on coal and wants the government to promote coal exports through its trade policies.
“I disagree with Obama’s administrations its policy on coal," she said, "because I will fight any republican any democrat including President Obama who tries to hurt and take away our energy jobs, whether they are coal, natural gas, wind or water.”
But Tennant does not completely disagree with President Obama’s signature accomplishment- the Affordable Care Act.
Tennant told the audience there are parts of the health care law that America needs such as an amendment that has helped miners to get black lung benefits. Tennant also supports preventing insurance companies from denying benefits because of a pre-existing condition.
“As a mother whose 11-year-old daughter had open heart surgery at a week old," she said, "and who was denied health care coverage because she now has a pre-existing condition. As a mother and a parent who has fought insurance companies that’s why that type of insurance is so important.”
Still Tennant says the health care bill needs work.
While republicans have criticized Tennant for being ‘too liberal’ and claim she supported President Obama during a time many West Virginia politicians have worked to create distance from the president, a recent poll indicated West Virginia voters are becoming more conservative.
Tennant doesn’t agree with the liberal label Republicans are trying to hang on her.
“When you want to talk about being a fiscal conservative," she said, "no one shows that better than I do with giving back $3-million to the tax payers of West Virginia."
"Instead of being an obstructionist in what’s taking place in Washington D.C.," she said, "we can’t say no all the time. I’m a person who says yes and we can accomplish the promises and possibilities that are presented to us in West Virginia.”
Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito announced last fall she'll seek the Republican nomination.
In a statement Capito’s Campaign Manager Chris Hansan said Tennant is a candidate handpicked by liberal D.C. democrats.
Tennant told supporters at Tamarak Capito is part of the reason Congress is in gridlock.
So far three Democrats, Two Republicans, a Constitution Party member and a non partisan candidate have filed pre-candidacy papers to run in the primary next year. Neither Capito or Tennant are on the list on the secretary of state's web site.