Sep 12 2019
UPDATE FROM HAL:
Shaping Our Appalachian Region
Southern and Eastern Kentucky is on the brink of bridging the digital divide and advancing new opportunities in each of our counties to diversify our economy and enhance tourism in our beautiful region.
The 2019 SOAR Summit brought out an incredible display of solutions to the challenges we face in our rural counties. For example, we're addressing shortages in healthcare professionals, boosting STEM education, improving reliable water and wastewater access for homes and businesses, and organizing our trails and other tourism hotspots. It all equates to a collective plan for job creation and a desperately-needed economic revival. We've known since day one that it wouldn't happen overnight, and with more than 1,300 individuals in attendance at the SOAR Summit this year, I'm confident that this movement is stronger than ever before.
We kicked off the SOAR Summit with the announcement of $34.4 million in grant funding, directly impacting 14 counties in Southern and Eastern Kentucky through the Abandoned Mine Lands Pilot Grant Program to repurpose our land for economic development and job creation. We are addressing a broad spectrum of issues through these grants, from advancing healthcare, to enhancing tourism, to improving infrastructure, to creating new jobs. If we are going to shape our future, we must continue to take a holistic approach. To learn more about each grant, visit halrogers.house.gov.
Governor Bevin and I also shared the distinct honor of announcing the completion of the KentuckyWired network connection rings in Eastern Kentucky. To be clear, we can't connect to the network from our homes or offices quite yet. However, it means that the state has extended this high performing broadband to every single county in our region, and now, local providers and local governments can extend the network on out into each community. KentuckyWired eliminates the barriers to rural broadband expansion in our region and provides an affordable pathway to tie into a high-speed, high-capacity network that seemed impossible just a few years ago. Click here to learn more about the next steps for KentuckyWired in Eastern Kentucky.
Working in concert with the mission of SOAR, Governor Bevin and I also announced $7.23 million in grant funding for Martin County to address the community’s failing water system and to improve economic development opportunities at the Eastern Kentucky Business Park. Since last year, we have secured more than $8.5 million in grants to improve the water system in Martin County. While more funding will be necessary down the road, these grants provide a pathway to permanent repairs and a reliable water system. Learn more about the on-going work in Martin County at halrogers.house.gov.
Learn how to be a part of the movement to shape our appalachian region by visiting soar-ky.org. There is a bright future ahead in Southern and Eastern Kentucky!
To stay updated on the work I'm doing in Washington, DC and across Kentucky's Fifth Congressional District, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and visit my online office at halrogers.house.gov.