Governor Robert Bentley has been elected Co-Chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) by governors of the 13 states that make up the ARC. The commission was created by Congress in 1965 to improve the quality of life and promote economic development in the Appalachian mountain region. Thirty-seven Alabama counties are located within the ARC region and are eligible to receive funding for improvement projects.
"The Appalachian Regional Commission has the same goal that I do as governor: to expand employment opportunities and assist people to improve their lives," said Governor Robert Bentley. "The commission has played an important role over the years in strengthening the economy of Alabama and the region, and I look forward to building on that progress. I am grateful to the governors of the other 12 states for their support and confidence in naming me to this position."
As the states' co-chair, Bentley will serve a one-year term and will work directly with Earl F. Gohl, the federal designated co-chair.
"I congratulate Governor Bentley on his selection by the Appalachian governors as the 2012 ARC states' co-chair," stated Gohl, "and look forward to working with him to address the economic challenges confronting Appalachia. I welcome his commitment to the ARC partnership and working with him to strengthen Appalachia's economy."
The ARC is a partnership of federal, state and local governments and includes each of the 13 governors in the region as well as an alternate representative from each state. The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs coordinates the ARC program in Alabama and ADECA Director Jim Byard Jr. will serve as Governor Bentley's alternate to the commission.
Projects are initiated at the community level with assistance from local development districts. In Alabama, the state's regional planning commissions serve as the development districts and recommend projects for ARC funding to Governor Bentley.
Governor Bentley will assume duties as co-chair on Jan. 1.