Northam named Appalachian Regional Commission states’ co-chair
Governor to help oversee the program that brings funding to the Appalachian region
The Appalachian Regional Commission announced Wednesday its 13 governors have elected Gov. Ralph Northam to serve as ARC’s states’ co-chair for 2021.
As co-chair, Northam will work with the federal co-chair to invest in economic growth and development across the 13-state Appalachian region. In fiscal year 2020, ARC, a federal-state partnership, has invested $161.8 million in the region, which is home to more than 25 million people. The investment is projected to lead to an additional $858 million in private investments, the creation or retention of more than 26,000 jobs and the trainings of nearly 21,000 students, workers and leaders.
“Appalachia is a vital part of Virginia, and America, with a unique history and culture, beautiful landscapes and resilient people,” Northam said in a statement. “I am eager to work with the ARC to strengthen Appalachian communities, improving their economic health and livelihood through investments in critical infrastructure like broadband, and services like health care, especially in the fight against opioid addiction.”
All ARC investments are made in partnership with the 13 governors and in accordance with the commission’s five-year strategic plan. Last year, ARC approved nearly $11.1 million in funding for 42 Virginia projects, which attracted an additional $50 million in private investment, created or retained 4,600 jobs and benefitted 750,000 Virginia residents.
“By exchanging new ideas from both sides of the aisle, we can bring high-quality jobs and economic opportunity throughout the Appalachian region,” Northam said in a statement.
Northam is ARC’s 68th states’ co-chair and fifth Virginia governor to hold the position, with Gov. Mark Warner last serving the position in 2003. Northam succeeds Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine in his role with ARC.
“I know firsthand the invaluable role that ARC plays in the success of Appalachian Virginia and the region as a whole,” U.S. Sen. Mark Warner said in a statement. “I look forward to continuing to work with Gov. Northam and ARC to support Appalachian communities, especially as we work to overcome the health and economic toll of COVID-19 crisis.”