Wednesday, August 09, 2000

Voinovich pushes Appalachian commission

The Associated Press

        NELSONVILLE, Ohio — Sen. George Voinovich said the Appalachian Regional Commission should find more effective ways to distribute money to economically distressed areas like southeast Ohio.

        Mr. Voinovich used the old Nelsonville opera house Tuesday to air the issue at a field hearing of a Senate subcommittee he heads.

        The ARC was established in 1965 to improve economic development in the 13 Appalachian states. The agency is up for reauthorization by Congress within the next year.

        “Despite its success to date, the ARC has not completed its mission on southeast Ohio and throughout Appalachia. The ARC is the type of federal initiative that the federal government should be encouraging,” he said.

        The former Ohio governor said he wanted to see firsthand how ARC programs have affected people. He noted that the ARC was key to the expansion of a local shoe manufacturer.

        “I was out at Rocky Boots this morning to see they've put their new distribution center there, and if it hadn't been for the ARC, they wouldn't have been able to put in the sewer lines and ... they might have gone somewhere else,” Mr. Voinovich said.

        State Rep. Nancy Hollister and the director of the Governor's Office of Appalachia, Joy Padgett, were among those who testified at the committee hearing. They said technological infrastructure and highways need to be improved in the region.


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