Gayle Conelly Manchin Sworn in as Thirteenth ARC Federal Co-Chair

Washington, D.C., May 6, 2021–Gayle Conelly Manchin was sworn in today as the Appalachian Regional Commission’s (ARC) thirteenth federal co-chair, becoming the first ARC federal co-chair from West Virginia. Nominated by President Biden, Manchin will work directly with ARC’s 13 member governors, their state alternates and program managers, and a network of local development districts to continue to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth throughout Appalachia. 

“I’m honored to serve our beloved Appalachian Region and its people as ARC federal co-chair,” said Manchin. “While we’ve come a long way over the years, more work needs to be done to strengthen our Region and seize opportunities to address economic disparities and advance prosperity.”   

An alumna of West Virginia University, Manchin worked as an educator in Marion County Schools, served on the faculty of Fairmont State University, and was the director of the university’s first Community Service Learning Program. She directed the AmeriCorps Promise Fellows in West Virginia between 2000-2004 and implemented a statewide initiative, WV Partnerships to Assure Student Success. Manchin previously served as West Virginia’s First Lady between 2005-2010 and was appointed to serve as a member of the State Board of Education, serving her last two years as president. She was the chair of the Board for Reconnecting McDowell, Inc., an AFT initiative serving rural West Virginia, is a past president of the Vandalia Rotary Club of Charleston, and was an emeritus member of The Education Alliance. She also served as cabinet secretary for the West Virginia Office of Education and the Arts. 

Manchin’s top priorities as ARC federal co-chair will be to support the creation of economic opportunities in the Appalachian Region, improve broadband access and critical infrastructure in Appalachian communities, and address the Region’s opioid crisis.  

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.