Ken Hechler's Life in West Virginia Politics
by Carter Taylor Seaton
The Rebel in the Red Jeep follows the personal and professional experiences of Ken Hechler, the West Virginia politician and activist who died in 2016 at the age of 102.
This biography recounts a century of accomplishments, from Hechlerâ€™s introduction of innovative teaching methods at major universities, to his work as a speechwriter and researcher for President Harry Truman, and finally to his time representing West Virginia in the United States House of Representatives and as the secretary of state.
In West Virginia, where he resisted mainstream political ideology, Hechler was the principal architect behind the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969 and constantly battled big coal, strip mining, and fellow politicians alike. He and his signature red jeep remain a fixture in West Virginia. Since 2004, Hechler has campaigned against mountaintop removal mining. He was arrested for trespassing during a protest in 2009 at the age of 94.
â€œA superb biography of a West Virginia icon. Carter Seaton has done a wonderful job capturing the essence of Ken Hechler.â€
Jean Edward Smith, author of Bush, Eisenhower in War and Peace, and FDR
â€œFascinating new insights into the personal and political aspects of the long career of one of the Mountain Stateâ€™s most intriguing and maverick political leaders.â€ Paul Nyden, retired Charleston Gazette labor reporter
About the author:
Carter Taylor Seaton is the author of Hippie Homesteaders: Arts, Crafts, Music, and Living on the Land in West Virginia, two novels, and numerous magazine articles. A ceramic sculptor, she previously directed a rural craft cooperative and was a marketing professional for thirty years. She is the recipient of the 2014 West Virginia Library Associationâ€™s Literary Merit Award, 2015 Marshall University Distinguished Alumni Award, and the 2016 Governorâ€™s Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts.