RICHMOND—Today, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) announced that Appalachia’s 13 governors elected Virginia Governor Ralph Northam to serve as ARC’s states’ co-chair for 2021. As part of ARC’s federal-state partnership structure, the states’ co-chair is annually elected by Appalachia’s governors and works directly with the federal co-chair to invest in economic growth and development across the 13-state Appalachian region. In addition to facilitating ARC investments across the region, the states’ co-chair hosts ARC’s Annual Summit.
“It’s an honor to be elected to this role, and I look forward to working with leaders across the Appalachian region to advance our shared priorities and support the region’s needs,” said Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. “Appalachia is a vital part of Virginia, and America, with a unique history and culture, beautiful landscapes, and resilient people. I am eager to work with the ARC to strengthen Appalachian communities, improving their economic health and livelihood through investments in critical infrastructure like broadband, and services like health care, especially in the fight against opioid addiction. By exchanging new ideas, from both sides of the aisle, we can bring high quality jobs and economic opportunity throughout the Appalachian region.”
Governor Northam is ARC’s 68th states’ co-chair and the fifth governor from Virginia to hold the position. He is also the first retired Army officer to serve in this role in 24 years. He succeeds Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, who served as the ARC states’ co-chair in 2020. The last ARC states’ co-chair from Virginia was former Governor Mark Warner, who held the position in 2003.
“I am proud to know that Governor Northam will serve as the 2021 states’ co-chair for the Appalachian Regional Commission,” said U.S. Senator Mark R. Warner, a former ARC Co-Chair. “I know firsthand the invaluable role that ARC plays in the success of Appalachian Virginia and the region as a whole. I look forward to continuing to work with Governor Northam and ARC to support Appalachian communities, especially as we work to overcome the health and economic toll of COVID-19 crisis.”
Twenty-five counties and eight cities in Virginia included in ARC’s 420-county footprint, which stretches from northern Mississippi to New York’s Southern Tier. Virginia’s Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) works with localities, planning district commissions, and stakeholders in Appalachia to assist in developing strategic projects, which are evaluated by DHCD and the governor and recommended to the federal commission for approval.
“I am pleased to welcome Governor Northam as ARC’s 2021 States’ Co-Chair,” said ARC Executive Director Brandon McBride. “On behalf of the Commission, I want to thank Ohio Governor Mike DeWine for serving in this role in 2020. ARC’s federal-state partnership is critical to the fulfillment of our important mission, and I look forward to working with Governor Northam, and all Appalachian state governors, to continue strengthening the region.”
Since its formation in 1965, ARC has been committed to economic development across the Appalachian region, which is home to over 25 million people. In fiscal year 2020, ARC invested $161.8 million in the region, which is projected to leverage an additional $858 million in private investments, create or retain over 26,000 jobs, and train nearly 21,000 students, workers, and leaders with new skills. All of ARC’s investments are made in partnership with the 13 governors and in concordance with ARC’s Five-Year Strategic Plan for Capitalizing on Appalachia’s Opportunities.
During fiscal year 2020, ARC approved nearly $11.1 million in funding for 42 projects in Virginia. These investments attracted an additional $50 million in leveraged private investments, helped create or retain 4,600 jobs, and benefited the nearly 750,000 residents in Virginia’s ARC counties.
For more information about ARC, visit arc.gov.