House Speaker Jody Richards today unveiled his proposal to establish a Coal Fields Economic Development Office during a speech at Hillbilly Days in Pikeville. The office is part of Richards' "Harnessing Kentucky Potential" initiative for economic development.
"Communities all across our state offer unique resources and skills to the Kentucky economy. The Coal Fields Economic Development Office will utilize the unique gifts that this region offers, and will promote them to attract and retain economic opportunities," Richards said. "The potential is immeasurable. We only need a leader who will develop that potential."
Richards' regional Economic Development Offices will be spread across the state, with offices including the Jackson Purchase Economic Development Office in far Western Kentucky. In addition to the regional offices, other initiatives in the "Harnessing Kentucky Potential" plan include encouraging entrepreneurial expansion and repealing the Alternative Minimum Calculation (AMC), which creates an unnecessary tax burden on small businesses.
Richards also announced that part of his plan includes the widening the entire Bert Combs Mountain Parkway to four lanes between Winchester and Prestonsburg.
"Without the necessary infrastructure, economic development stagnates," he said. "By expanding the roads in the region, we can ensure that the region can expand and thrive."