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Inside Information: January–December 2002 Issue

Inside Information

Senate Confirms Nominations of Anne B. Pope as ARC Federal Co-Chairman and Richard J. Peltz as Alternate Federal Co-Chairman

On November 18, the U.S. Senate confirmed the nominations of Anne B. Pope as federal co-chairman of the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), and Richard J. Peltz of Pennsylvania as ARC alternate federal co-chairman. Pope is currently commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance. Peltz is deputy secretary for local and area transportation with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, overseeing the Bureau of Public Transportation and the Bureau of Municipal Services. Pope and Peltz will be sworn into their posts in the coming weeks.

President Bush Signs ARC Reauthorization into Law

On March 12, President George W. Bush signed into law S. 1206, the Appalachian Regional Development Act Amendments of 2002 (P.L. 107-149), enacting the first five-year reauthorization in ARC's history. The legislation extends the Commission's nonhighway programs through 2006; continues ARC's traditional work in providing basic infrastructure, health care, and local leadership development; and maintains support for multicounty planning and development agencies (local development districts). It authorizes new programs in telecommunications, entrepreneurship, and job-skills training, and reinforces ARC's commitment to economically distressed counties in Appalachia by mandating that at least half of Commission project dollars go to activities that benefit distressed areas. Another provision of the legislation adds four new counties to the Region: Hart and Edmonson Counties in Kentucky, and Panola and Montgomery Counties in Mississippi. The act provides an authorization level of $88 million annually for fiscal years 2002 through 2004; $90 million for fiscal year 2005; and $92 million for fiscal year 2006.

Virginia Governor Mark Warner Joins ARC

Virginia Governor Mark Warner, who took office in January 2002, is the newest member of the Appalachian Regional Commission. An entrepreneur and venture capitalist, Warner has founded a number of successful businesses and is a founding partner of Columbia Capital Corporation, a technology venture capital fund in Alexandria, Virginia.

A 1977 graduate of George Washington University, Warner received a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1980. In 1997 he started the Virginia High-Tech Partnership to link students from Virginia's historically black colleges and universities to internship and job opportunities in technology companies statewide. Warner is also the founding chair of the Virginia Health Care Foundation, which provides health care to underserved Virginians.

As governor, Warner's initiatives include improving efficiency in state government and building community partnerships to strengthen schools. Warner will serve as ARC's 2003 states' co-chairman.

Appalachian States Elect New Governors

In November, six Appalachian states elected new governors. In Alabama, the governor-elect is Bob Riley; in Georgia, Sonny Perdue; in Maryland, Robert Ehrlich; in Pennsylvania, Ed Rendell; in South Carolina, Mark Sanford; and in Tennessee, Phil Bredesen. Additionally, two Appalachian governors—New York Governor George Pataki and Ohio Governor Bob Taft—were re-elected to office. The governors-elect will become members of the Appalachian Regional Commission when they take office in early 2003.

ARC 2002 Annual Conference Highlights School-Community Partnerships

The role of education in community and economic development was the focus of ARC's 2002 annual conference, "Education and the Community: Fostering Mutual Support." Held October 29–30 in Maryville, Tennessee, the conference was attended by more than 250 state and local government development officials, educators, and civic, business, and nonprofit leaders.

Conference highlights included a town meeting hosted by Tennessee Governor Don Sundquist and ARC Federal Co-Chairman Jesse L. White Jr. on the mutually supportive roles education systems and communities can play in bolstering economic development and improving education. Panelists at the town meeting were Jeffrey Finkle, president and CEO of the International Economic Development Council; Rachel B. Tompkins, president of the Rural School and Community Trust; and S. Anne Hancock, secretary's regional representative for the U.S. Department of Education's Region IV. Additionally, a best-practices showcase provided conference participants a detailed look at 15 successful education projects featuring collaboration between schools and their communities. These projects ranged from school-readiness and youth entrepreneurship programs to a post-secondary-education initiative created to support lifelong learning. At the conference's end, participants joined in discussion groups by state to share ideas and information and to address education issues unique to each state.

The conference keynote speaker was Carol H. Rasco, president and CEO of Reading Is Fundamental, a nonprofit children's literacy organization. A former elementary educator and senior policy advisor to U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley, Rasco spoke on the central importance of reading to education and the need for communities to help schools become more effective by introducing reading to community activities, such as youth recreation programs.

A full report on the Education and the Community conference will be available in the next issue of Appalachia magazine.


Appalachian Regional Commission Meets in Washington

ARC Federal Co-Chairman Jesse L. White Jr. and Tennessee Governor Don Sundquist, ARC's 2002 states' co-chairman, presided over the annual Governors' Quorum Meeting of the Appalachian Regional Commission on February 24 in Washington, D.C. At the meeting, the Commission passed resolutions approving state Appalachian development plans and annual strategy statements, authorizing mail ballots for the allocation of ARC funds, and designating economically distressed and economically strong counties for fiscal year 2003. The meeting included an analysis by ARC senior economist Greg Bischak of change in the Appalachian economy over the last decade, highlighting issues related to economic development in distressed and at-risk counties.

DDAA Annual Conference Held in March

More than 300 local development officials and staff members from planning districts in the Appalachian Region attended the Development District Association of Appalachia's (DDAA) annual training conference in Arlington, Virginia, in March. The conference theme was "The New Appalachia: The Vital Role of Local Development Districts in Shaping the Future of the Region." At conference awards ceremonies, the DDAA paid tribute to Senator George V. Voinovich of Ohio for his outstanding service to the people of Appalachia; and it presented Sara "Chuck" Stuckey, longtime ARC program manager for North Carolina, with the John D. Whisman Vision Award for exemplary service and leadership in the Region. The 2002 Appalachian Youth Entrepreneurship Education Springboard Awards were also presented, recognizing six outstanding entrepreneurship education programs in Appalachia.