In the face of continued production declines in the coal industry, more and more Kentucky leaders are speaking out, and calling for the construction of a different, more diversified economy. We, and others, often lament the lack of leadership on this matter, so any movement toward building a better economy for the region is good news.
This week, Agriculture Commissioner James Comer (Kentucky Public Radio photo), who is a big advocate for bringing industrial hemp back to Kentucky, said that “the coal industry’s future doesn’t look bright and we have to look beyond that and learn to develop a new economy in Eastern Kentucky.” Read more about his comments here.
State Rep. Leslie Combs received much attention in August when she said “it is crucial that we do all we can to help our people not just survive but thrive. The time has come to focus less on placing blame and more on how coal-mining regions can move forward.” And Gov. Steve Beshear and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers announced last month their SOAR summit, or Shaping our Appalachian Region, as a way to talk about viable options for the region’s future.
The times, they are a’changing, and it’s obvious our leaders are on board with looking for other opportunities for Appalachia to flourish in the future, which is a good sign. We’ll lead strong leadership to guide us into that bright future we know we reach.
You can register for the SOAR conference here. At present, there are more than 600 people signed up to attend.