My last column in The Roanoke Times

My final column was published in The Roanoke Times yesterday. I’ll be working through the end of the month, but I’ll be concentrating on writing editorials, tying up loose ends and cleaning out my office.

I’m eager to start the next chapter of my career with the Appalachian Center for the Economy and the Environment (yes, one of the first things we’re talking about is a new name).

As I wrote in yesterday’s column:

When I left the Gazette, I wrote about how my 10 years there had shaped me as an editorial writer and how I had come to realize tremendous satisfaction in helping give the powerless a voice as they fight the exploitation of the powerful.

That exploitation has been a recurring theme in the history of Appalachia, and fighting it is the mission of the organization I’m joining.

The debate is about coal, climate change, state and federal regulations, the fragile economies of states like Kentucky and West Virginia, and the mountains, rivers and forests of Appalachia. It involves complex, emotionally powerful issues involving people’s jobs, their health, their homes and their children.

I am looking forward to retaking a place in that debate.

Indeed, I am.

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