Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

November 17, 2013

600 have registered for SOAR summit

Staff report
The Independent

FRANKFORT — Kentuckians who care about the future of southern and eastern Kentucky are responding to the call from Gov. Steve Beshear, U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers and other leaders to participate in an effort to focus on the future success of the region.

Already 600 have registered for the Dec. 9 summit titled “Shaping our Appalachian Region,” to be at the Eastern Kentucky Exposition Center in Pikeville.

“We know the people who live and work hard in this region are eager to help shape its economic future, and to provide the ideas needed to overcome both short-term and long-term challenges,” Beshear said. “So this overwhelming response is gratifying, but not surprising.”

“We want folks to know that every voice will be heard at this summit, whether by submitting an idea electronically or through face-to-face interactions,” Rogers said. “The urgency for more jobs is overwhelming, as even more eastern Kentucky coal mines announced layoffs last week. It’s time to get to work, so it’s encouraging to see our people are ready to pitch in on Dec. 9.”

Registration remains open for anyone who wants to contribute a voice or vision for strategies to transform the region, build on its strengths and overcome obstacles to success. The summit is open to any Kentuckian with an interest in participating, and is completely free. Register at kydlgweb.ky.gov.

Beshear, Rogers, Senate President Robert Stivers, House Speaker Greg Stumbo and other leaders announced plans for the summit last month. The Rural Policy Research Institute, a national policy institute dedicated to fostering public dialogue and solutions to the challenges facing rural regions and communities, will help facilitate discussions at the SOAR Summit. Other national and regional agencies supporting the SOAR effort include the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development and the Appalachian Regional Commission.

A schedule of events for the summit will be released next week.