On January 4, 2018, President Donald Trump announced his intent to nominate Tim Thomas to serve as the next federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission. Thomas currently serves on the state staff of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as a field representative based in the senator’s Bowling Green office. A native Kentuckian, Thomas previously served in the administration of former Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher as a special assistant to the secretary of the Kentucky Environmental Cabinet, handling matters including legislative initiatives for the agency. While at the cabinet, Thomas also served as federal facilities coordinator, overseeing environmental regulation of federal sites including U.S. Department of Energy and United States Army installations. Thomas’ last position in state government was as executive director of the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority, an agency tasked with helping finance the expansion of water and wastewater services throughout the state. After leaving state government, Thomas was employed by Swift & Staley, Inc., a government infrastructure support services contractor based in western Kentucky. He is a graduate of Murray State University and the University of Louisville School of Law.
The nomination was referred to the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on January 8 for consideration and review. Once confirmed by the Senate, Thomas will succeed the current ARC federal co-chair, Earl F. Gohl. Gohl has served as federal co-chair since 2010 under appointment by President Obama.