Good morning. Thank you to all of our witnesses for appearing before us today and a special welcome to Mr. Gary Gorshing from southwestern Oklahoma. We’re glad to have you here, Gary, and I look forward to your testimony.
Today’s hearing is to discuss reauthorization of the Economic Development Administration. EDA was created in 1965 to provide assistance to economically distressed areas, primarily those experiencing substantial and persistent unemployment and poverty. These areas count on EDA to help create favorable environments for long-term economic growth. Studies have shown that EDA uses federal dollars efficiently and effectively – creating and retaining long-term jobs at an average cost that is among the lowest in government.
We’ve had some great successes working with EDA in my home state of Oklahoma. Overall, in the last decade, EDA investments of about $47 million, leveraged 42 million in State and local dollars and more than 1 billion in private sector dollars. All together, these investments created or saved more than 13,000 jobs. More specifically, just about a year ago, I joined Dr. Sampson as he presented an award to the City of Durant and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma for a public works project. The project is construction of industrial park infrastructure to support expansion of a Big Lots, Inc. distribution facility. It will include significant local, state, tribal and private investment and will support more than 300 new jobs. I know we will have many more of these success stories in the future as well. In fact, just yesterday we announced $2.1 million in EDA project and planning grants for the State of Oklahoma. I look forward to seeing the benefits of these good investments in the coming months and years.
EDA contributes to important projects like this all across the country. Reauthorization gives us an opportunity to ensure the continuation of this good work and to provide the tools necessary to improve performance even further. I look forward to hearing from today’s witnesses and to working with my Committee colleagues, the Administration and interested stakeholders to move a reauthorization bill as quickly as we can.