North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper to Serve as 2019 Appalachian Regional Commission States’ Co-Chair

Will Offer Leadership Role in Historic Federal-State Partnership Investing in Appalachia’s Economic Future

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 9, 2019—Today, Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Federal Co-Chair Tim Thomas announced that Appalachia’s 13 governors have elected North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper to serve as ARC’s states’ co-chair for 2019.

As part of ARC’s federal-state partnership structure, Appalachia’s governors elect a states’ co-chair annually. The position is primarily responsible for working directly with the federal co-chair to oversee economic growth and development across the Appalachian Region. The states’ co-chair also hosts ARC’s Annual Summit, which will take place in Asheville, North Carolina, in September 2019.

“With over thirty years of public service experience, it is clear why Governor Cooper was selected by his counterparts to carry on this partnership, which is so vital to communities throughout our Region,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Tim Thomas. “I know the Governor has a deep commitment to ARC’s mission and I look forward to working with him throughout 2019 to strengthen economic opportunity for all Appalachians.”

As one of his first official acts as ARC states’ co-chair, Governor Cooper’s Administration is co-hosting a Substance Abuse Listening Session with ARC’s Federal Co-Chair Tim Thomas focusing on strategies to address the Region’s drug crisis while also strengthening economic opportunity. The Listening Session will take place on Tuesday, January 15, 2019, at Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.

“Our Appalachian Region offers special opportunities for so many communities but also faces unique challenges. As states’ co-chair I will focus on helping those communities in the Region thrive,” said Governor Cooper. “That means expanding economic opportunities throughout Appalachia by strengthening its workforce, investing in critical infrastructure like broadband, building on the region’s rich natural and cultural heritage, and expanding leadership capacity at the local level to innovate and collaborate around these opportunities.”

Cooper is ARC’s 66th states’ co-chair, and the second governor from North Carolina to hold the position in ARC’s 54 year history. He succeeds Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, who held the post in 2018. The last ARC states’ co-chair from North Carolina was former Governor James B. Hunt, Jr, who held the position in 1978. Twenty-nine North Carolina counties are part of ARC’s 420-county footprint, which stretches from northern Mississippi to New York’s Southern Tier. ARC investments in North Carolina are coordinated by North Carolina’s Department of Commerce.

Since its formation in 1965, ARC has invested in thousands of community-based projects contributing to the economic growth of Appalachia by training workers, creating jobs, and attracting additional investment capital to the Region. In fiscal year 2018 alone, ARC approved over $125.6 million in funding for 522 economic development projects across Appalachia. These investments are projected to help create or retain more than 26,600 jobs; train more than 34,000 students, workers, and leaders in new skills; attract more than $188.7 million in other project funding; and leverage more than $1.49 billion in private investment in Appalachia. All of ARC’s investments are made in concordance with ARC’s Five-Year Strategic Plan for Capitalizing on Appalachia’s Opportunities.

About the Appalachian Regional Commission

The Appalachian Regional Commission ( is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the Region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation.