Appalachian governors have elected Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear the new states’ co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission.
He will serve in the role for 2023. President Joe Biden appointed the federal co-chair, Gayle Manchin, in 2021. She is the wife of Democratic West Virginia U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin.
The ARC is a federal economic development agency for 13 states within the region.
The current governor will be the 70th states’ co-chair of the ARC. He is the first from Kentucky since 2015, when his father and then-Gov. Steve Beshear held the position.
A press release from Beshear’s office said the two co-chairs will work together “to lead the commission in bolstering economic and community growth across the 13 states of the region.”
“I am honored to have been chosen by my fellow Appalachian governors to co-chair the Appalachian Regional Commission. ARC investments are building better lives for current and future generations here in Kentucky and across the ARC region,” Beshear said. “Access to quality health care, a good paying job and clean water should not be determined by your zip code. I want to thank my fellow ARC governors for entrusting me with this role, and I look forward to continuing our important work together.”
Kentucky is set to host the ARC’s annual conference this fall.
“It is my honor to welcome Gov. Beshear as ARC’s 2023 states’ co-chair,” Manchin said. “I look forward to continuing to collaborate with him and all of our Appalachian governors as we advance ARC’s mission to bring economic parity and transformational opportunities to the region’s 26 million people.”
Last year, Kentucky received more than $51 million from the ARC for projects such as constructing a water treatment plant, a steel facility and other improvements at Breaks Interstate Park in Pike County.
The ARC serves 423 counties across the region of Appalachia. In fiscal year 2022, the commission invested nearly $240 million.
“ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia,” the commission’s website said.
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