Friday, February 13, 2015

Retired miner says effort to reshape Appalachian Kentucky's economy is all talk and no action

Stanley Sturgil
A bipartisan effort to reshape Appalachian Kentucky's economy in coal-depressed areas has been all talk and no action, retired miner Stanley Sturgill writes in an op-ed piece in the Lexington Herald-Leader. Sturgill, from Harlan County, writes that Shaping Our Appalachian Region, launched in 2013 by Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear and Rep. Hal Rogers, a Republican, "in my opinion (and the opinion of many fellow citizens) has not done anything for us in our county."

SOAR was introduced in Occtober 2013, held a summit in December 2013, formed an executive committee in March 2014, announced in April 2014 it was planning work groups and is holding another summit on Monday. But Strugill writes that the summit, and the $10 registration fee—$15 at the door—is pointless.

"We don't need this kind of fanfare or great speakers with more promises to let us know the SOAR ship has not yet lifted off," Sturgill writes. "We already know this firsthand. What we need is action and fast action. We need all our coal severance to come to our counties; we don't need promises from ancient politicians still trying to make a name for themselves. They dropped the ball for our area many years ago." (Read more)

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