Ousted Rep. Nick RahallNick Joe RahallWe shouldn't allow politics to impede disaster relief Break the cycle of partisanship with infant, child health care programs Clinton mulls role in 2018 midterms MORE (D-W.Va.) told supporters he would continue to work for coal miners and veterans after losing his reelection battle.

“I’m not going anywhere. West Virginia’s my home,” Rahall said in a brief speech after news outlets declared Republican Evan Jenkins the winner of the election.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I love it dearly. And I will continue to serve the people of this great state.”

Rahall served in the House for 38 years, longer than any federal lawmaker in West Virginia. He established a reputation as a staunch defender of the coal industry and miners.

“Every breath of my day will be worrying about coal jobs and our coal miners, those brave individuals that go beneath the bowels of the earth to extract energy for our country and our state,” Rahall said.

He also promised to keep veterans “in my heart, those who’ve given us this great country.”

Rahall made coal a central piece of his reelection campaign as Jenkins tried to link him to President Obama’s environmental policies that harm the industry.

Rahall is the top Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where he has advocated for increasing the fuel tax in order to provide more money to build infrastructure.

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), current ranking member of the Natural Resources Committee, is next in line for the Transportation spot.