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December 17, 2007




(JACKSON, Mississippi) – Governor Haley Barbour has been elected by the governors of the 13 Appalachian states to serve as the 2008 States’ Co-Chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). Governor Barbour will succeed West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin, III, in this position.


“It is a great honor to have been selected by my peers to serve as ARC State’s Co-Chair. My selection to lead this group is a testament to Mississippi’s growing reputation as a business-friendly state, where low taxes, lawsuit reform, and improved workforce training programs have created an environment favorable to economic development,” Governor Barbour said. “On the regional level, we must also work toward developing policies that encourage multi-state economic development projects while also focusing on our goal of updating and improving Appalachia’s infrastructure and highway system.”


The Appalachian Regional Commission is a federal-state partnership that works to create multi-state economic development opportunities and improve the quality of life in the Appalachian region. As States’ Co-Chair, Governor Barbour has pledged to ardently support the ARC’s efforts to reduce the region’s isolation by working to improve infrastructure and highway systems across states and to develop policies that spur economic development opportunities. Governor Barbour will build upon his leadership experience as the 2007 chairman of the Southern Governors Association, a regional organization comprised of southern states, including ten of the 13 ARC members.


“I congratulate Governor Barbour on being voted ARC states' co-chair by the Appalachian governors,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Anne B. Pope. “He brings a wealth of government experience to the table in addition to a proven commitment to improving the lives of the people of Appalachia. We are fortunate to have Governor Barbour in this important position, and I look forward to working with him on programs that will advance economic opportunities to create jobs and promote growth.”


The ARC works under a strategic plan of increasing job opportunities and per capita income in Appalachia; strengthening the capacity of the Appalachian people to compete in the global economy; developing and improving infrastructure to make the region economically competitive; and building the Appalachian Development Highway System to reduce Appalachia’s isolation. Within the state, the ARC program is administered by the Mississippi Development Authority.