Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communication Office
Governor Ernie Fletcher Named States’ Co-Chair by the Appalachian Regional Commission

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, February 15, 2006  
Contact Information:  Brett Hall
Jodi Whitaker
Troy Body

Governor to be the representative for the 13 ARC states

Frankfort, Ky. - Governor Ernie Fletcher has been selected to be the states’ co-chair for the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC).  His term is effective immediately.  As states’ co-chair, Governor Fletcher is responsible for representing the 13 ARC governors before Congress and the Bush Administration; serve as a member of various ARC committees; and provide guidance on policy and administrative issues concerning the commission.

Governor Fletcher was elected by the 13 governors in the ARC region to serve for the 2006 calendar year.  He is the seventh Kentucky governor to serve as ARC co-chair.

"Representing the Commonwealth of Kentucky in my capacity as the states' co-chair for the Appalachian Regional Commission is both an opportunity and a challenge," said Governor Fletcher.  "I look forward to working with members of ARC in an effort to continue the fantastic work they do for the communities of Appalachia."

ARC’s programs are designed to help the 13-state Appalachian Region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation.  The commission has four goals in its strategic plan:  1) increase job opportunities and per capita income; 2) strengthen the capacity of Appalachia’s citizens to compete in the global economy; 3) improve the region’s infrastructure to make Appalachia economically competitive; 4) build the Appalachian Development Highway System to reduce the region’s isolation.

“I am pleased that the governors of the 13 Appalachian States have elected Governor Fletcher as the new state’s co-chair,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Anne Pope. “As a leader in Kentucky he has charted a forward-looking course through initiatives like the Prescription for Innovation, and I know firsthand that his commitment and unique vision will help ARC deliver the economic and community development tools needed to move our Region forward in 2006.”

ARC announced recently that President Bush proposed level funding for fiscal year 2007 for the program.  That represents nearly $65 million for ARC’s community and economic development programs.  The budget proposal will go to Congress for consideration.

The region includes the states of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.  Approximately 23 million people live in the region, with 42% of that population living in rural areas.

Steve Robertson, commissioner of the Governor’s Office for Local Development (GOLD) has also been named Kentucky’s ARC Alternate and will serve as the state-level contact for those seeking ARC assistance.

Kentucky’s ARC region consists of the following counties:  Adair, Bath, Bell, Boyd, Breathitt, Carter, Casey, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Cumberland, Edmonson, Elliott, Estill, Fleming, Floyd, Garrard, Green, Greenup, Harlan, Hart, Jackson, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Laurel, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Lewis, Lincoln, McCreary, Madison, Magoffin, Martin, Menifee, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Powell, Pulaski, Rockcastle, Rowan, Russell, Wayne, Whitley and Wolfe.

ARC is a federal-state economic development program used to meet infrastructure needs as well as to support education, work force development, leadership and civic capacity building, entrepreneurship, asset-based development and affordable and accessible health care. ARC is federally funded and available to Kentucky’s 51 most eastern and south-central counties. Applications for ARC funds are submitted to GOLD.