‘We are the Appalachian region’: Federal, state and local leaders gather in EKY focused on economic development

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 6
Published: May. 11, 2023 at 7:16 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PINEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - On Thursday, federal, state and local leaders gathered in Pineville for the Partners for Rural Impact community forum.

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News First at Four

Energy Communities IWG executive director, Brian Anderson said their goal is to empower communities to take advantage of federal funding to help communities thrive as the nation transitions to a clean energy economy.

“We have one premise, and it is not to leave communities behind. We are in the midst of a energy transition and in fact isn’t the last 50 years, coal communities have been in an economic transition. It has really accelerated over the last 10 years and we’re going to continue to see a transition,” Anderson said.

Rocky Adkins, Governor Andy Beshear’s Senior Advisor also shared his thoughts. He said true success is regions and communities working together.

”Those regions that sing from the same hymn book. Those regions who have the same game plan that’s going to be carried out day in and day out, and yes, we have our own individual needs and our own individual communities and counties, I get that. But the regionalism I’ve seen from Eastern Kentucky has come so far, so quick. To where people are working together from the mountain caucus to the governor’s office to our federal agencies,” Adkins said.

The Appalachian Regional Commission’s Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin was also present and said her goal is to bring all 13 states in the Appalachian region together to create more economic growth.

”That we’ll start thinking of ourselves, yes, we are the Appalachian region. We are this mountain ridge that’s very important in this country. So, we’re 423 counties and we’re 26 million people. The more we can start thinking in terms of what we can achieve as a region. I think will allow us to think bigger about our projects and bigger about what we can mean to this country,” Manchin said.

She also announced that the Appalachian Regional Commission is awarding five Appalachian development districts $100,000 each.

”$100,000 is for them to be able to hire support people to help them do the capacity building in the community to help them provide that technical assistance to the communities,” said Manchin.

The awards totaled up to $500,000.