Hearings - Testimony
 
Field Hearing
Impact of the Last Reauthorization of the Appalachian Regional Commission and Issues Regarding the Upcoming Reauthorization
Thursday, April 20, 2006
 
Mr. T.J. Justice
Director, Governor’s Office of Appalachia, Appalachian Regional Commission

GOOD AFTERNOON. I AM THANKFUL TO YOU - SENATOR VOINOVICH - FOR PROVIDING ME WITH THE OPPORTUNITY TO PRESENT FORMAL TESTIMONY REGARDING THE RE-AUTHORIZATION OF THE APPALACHIAN REGIONAL COMMISSION ON BEHALF OF OHIO'S 1.4 MILLION APPALACHIAN RESIDENTS LOCATED ACROSS A 29-COUNTY AREA. I WOULD LIKE TO THANK YOU FOR YOUR EXCEPTIONAL SUPPORT OF THE ARC AS WELL AS YOUR LEADERSHIP AND DEDICATION TO THIS PART OF OHIO AND THE OTHER 12 STATES THAT CREATE THE APPALACHIAN REGION OF THE UNITED STATES.

 

SENATOR, I AM PRIVILEDGED TO HAVE HAD THE CHANCE TO WORK FOR YOU WHILE YOU SERVED 8 YEARS AS GOVERNOR OF OHIO AND I WANT TO MAKE CERTAIN YOU ARE AWARE OF THE APPRECIATION THE PEOPLE IN EASTERN AND SOUTHERN OHIO HAVE FOR THE “DEAR COLLEAGE” LETTERS YOU INITIATE TO MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS IN WASHINGTON, D.C. YOU HAVE NOT BEEN RESERVED IN YOUR INTEREST TO MAINTAIN AND EXPAND THE LEVEL OF FUNDING FOR THE ARC.

I ALSO WANT TO THANK PRESIDENT BUSH AND ARC FEDERAL CO - CHAIR ANNE POPE. IT IS NO SECRET THAT DOMESTIC SPENDING IS TIGHT FOR OBVIOUS REASONS. TO ENSURE OUR COUNTRY’S SAFETY THE ADMINISTRATION HAS BEEN CONSTRAINED TO LOOK MORE CLOSELY AT HOW AND WHERE IT SPENDS FEDERAL DOLLARS IN OUR HOMELAND. ALTHOUGH MANY PROGRAMS ARE PROPOSED TO BE CUT, THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION HAS RECOMMENDED FLAT FUNDING OF $64.8 MILLION FOR THE ARC. THIS IS A TESTAMENT OF MISS POPE'S ABILITY TO REPRESENT US WITHIN THE WHITE HOUSE AND ALSO REFLECTS THE MEASURABLE SUCCESS OF THE ARC.

BEFORE I SHARE MY VIEWS ON WHY REAUTHORIZATION OF THE ARC IS WARRANTED, I WANT TO RECOGNIZE CONGRESSMAN BOB NEY. A CLOSE FRIEND OF MINE AS WELL AS MY OWN CONGRESSMAN IN JACKSON COUNTY, WHERE I RESIDE. BOB KNOWS WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO HIS CONSTITUENTS, WHETHER IT’S ADVOCACY FOR THE ARC, THE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT PROGRAM OR OTHER SUCCESSFUL PROGRAMS FOR HIS DISTRICT AND THE REGION AS A WHOLE.

THIS APPALACHIAN REGIONAL COMMISSION BREATHES SUCCESS AND IT FUELS PARTNERSHIPS THAT HAVE LED TO ORGANIZATIONS SUCH AS THE OHIO APPALACHIAN CENTER FOR HIGHER EDUATION- OR OACHE- BEING FORMED. THIS PROGRAM FOCUSES ON ENCOURAGING STUDENTS TO GO TO COLLEGE AND AIMS TO INCREASE THE LOW EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT LEVEL OF APPALACHIAN CITIZENS. THE OACHE PROVIDES CAREER PLANNING AND FINACIAL AID FUNDING, STARTING AS EARLY AS 6TH GRADE TO HELP KIDS DREAM BIG AND FIND ADEQUATE RESOURCES TO MAKE THOSE DREAMS COME TRUE.

ON A MORE PERSONAL NOTE, I WOULD LIKE TO SHARE AN OACHE STORY WITH YOU IN HOPES THAT IT WILL MOVE YOU IN THE SAME WAY THAT IT MOVED ME. WHILE VISITING WITH SOME OF THE OACHE STUDENTS AT SOUTH WEBSTER HIGH SCHOOL TWO YEARS AGO, A SENIOR APPROACHED ME AND WANTED TO LET ME KNOW HOW THIS PROGRAM HAD IMPACTED HIS LIFE. HE TOLD ME THAT HE CAME FROM A FAMILY WHO DISCOURAGED HIM FROM GOING TO COLLEGE. HIS VERY OWN FATHER TOLD HIM TO NOT EVEN TRY - THAT HE SHOULD TAKE HIS HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA AND GET A JOB AT A LOCAL AUTO OR BODY SHOP. OACHE FOUND HIM. HE TOLD ME THAT DESPITE WHAT HIS FATHER HAD TOLD HIM, HE KNEW INSIDE - THAT HE HAD ALWAYS WANTED TO TRY COLLEGE. TODAY, HE IS A SOPHOMORE AT HOCKING COLLEGE IN NELSONVILLE, OHIO TRAINING TO BECOME A POLICE OFFICER.

THIS YOUNG MAN IS THE WORK OF THE APPALACHIAN REGIONAL COMMISSION. THIS IS HOW THE INVESTMENTS OF THIS ENTITY MAKE A DIFFERENCE FOR PEOPLE OF ALL WALKS OF LIFE.

ARC'S MODEL AND SUCCESS HERE IN OHIO HAS BEEN SO HIGHLY REGARDED THAT GOVERNOR TAFT NOT ONLY RECOGNIZED THAT EARLY IN HIS FIRST TERM, BUT HE REPLICATED IT. OHIO'S ALLOCATION OF ARC FUNDS HAS GENERALLY BEEN IN THE $4.1 - $4.5 MILLION RANGE EXCLUDING HIGHWAY FUNDS. THE TAFT ADMINISTRATION CREATED ITS OWN STATE APPALACHIAN PROGRAM WITH AN EQUAL AMOUNT OF FUNDS OPERATING UNDER THE SAME GUIDELINES AND GOALS OF THE ARC THUS DOUBLING THE AMOUNT OF INVESTMENTS ABLE TO BE MADE EACH YEAR BY THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE OF APPALACHIA AND THE APPALACHIAN REGIONAL COMMISSION IN OHIO.

SENATOR, THIS PROGRAM WORKS. IT CREATES JOBS AND STIMULATES HEALTH CARE IN AREAS LIKE SOUTHERN PERRY COUNTY NEAR CORNING AND NEW STRAITESVILLE WHERE A NEW HEALTH CLINIC PARTIALLY FUNDED BY THE ARC IS PROVIDING HEALTH CARE SERVICES THAT OTHERWISE WOULD NOT BE PROVIDED. IT SUPPLIES DENTAL SERVICES IN MEIGS COUNTY FOR UNINSURED AND UNDERINSURED INDIVIDUALS. IT OFFERS A MOBILE DIABETES UNIT AT OHIO UNIVERSITY THAT SCREENS RESIDENTS IN PIKE, VINTON, ATHENS, MEIGS, HOCKING AND OTHER APPALACHIAN COUNTIES.

THE ARC’S COMMITMENT TO COMMUNITIES IN THE APPALACHIAN REGION HAS LED TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF NEW PROGRAMS. FOR EXAMPLE, THE ROSS COUNTY CHILD DEVELOPMENT AND FAMILY SERVICE CENTER AT OHIO UNIVERSITY IN CHILLICOTHE IS NOW ABLE TO FURNISH AND EQUIPT ITS FACILITY TO ACCOMODATE EDUCATIONAL, REHABILITATIVE AND SOCIAL WELFARE SERVICES TO 360 CHILDREN AND THEIR FAMILIES. AS A DIRECT RESULT OF THE ARC, THE CITY OF WELLSTON, IN JACKSON COUNTY RETAINED MORE THAN 1,000 JOBS WITH THE UPGRADE OF A WATER TREATMENT PLANT. THE FOUNDATION FOR HEALTHY COMMUNITIES CAN ASSIST 11 HOSPITALS IN APPALACHIAN OHIO AND ACQUIRE THE DIAGNOSTIC EQUIPMENT NEEDED TO CONDUCT HEARING SCREENINGS FOR ALL NEWBORNS. THESE PROJECTS HAVE ALL BEEN MADE POSSIBLE, AND IN MOST CASES, WOULD NOT HAVE OCCURRED HAD IT NOT BEEN FOR THE ARC’S INVOLVEMENT.

THIS IS A PROGRAM THAT HAS PRODUCED COUNTLESS EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITES, WHETHER IT'S ENTREPRENEURS CREATING 2 AND 3 JOBS AT A TIME AT HICKORY RIDGE IN MORGAN COUNTY OR ACENET'S AGRIBUSINESS INCUBATOR IN ATHENS COUNTY. IT ALSO GENERATES HUNDREDS OF JOBS AT OTHER LARGE MANUFACTURERS BY SUPPORTING THE NECESSARY INFRASTRUCTURE IN PLACES LIKE ZANESVILLE'S INDUSTRIAL PARK WHERE WENDY'S BAKERY AND THE DOLLAR GENERAL DISTRIBUTION CENTER ARE LOCATED OR BUCKINGHAM COAL IN PERRY COUNTY.

THE APPALACHIAN REGIONAL COMMISSION IS ALSO A DEPENDABLE RESOURCE IN TIMES OF NEED. OHIO USED $1 MILLION OF ARC FUNDS FOR FLOOD RECOVERY EFFORTS DURING CATASTROPHIC FLOOD EVENTS THAT OCCURRED 18 MONTHS AGO. I CAN TELL YOU THAT REPAIRS WERE MADE IN CRITICAL AREAS THAT OTHERWISE WOULD NOT HAVE OCCURRED DUE TO FEMA POLICIES. AN EXAMPLE IS THE RESTORATION OF A SHORTLINE RAILROAD IN GUERNSEY COUNTY THAT SUPPORTED 180 JOBS AT A MANUFACTURING FACILITY IN BYESVILLE.

ON BEHALF OF GOVERNOR TAFT AND THE RESIDENTS, EMPLOYERS, AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS OF APPALACHIAN OHIO, I SUBMIT TO YOU - SENATOR VOINOVICH - THAT THERE ARE FEW, IF ANY OTHER, FEDERAL PROGRAMS THAT ARE AS EFFECTIVE AND WORTHY AS THE ARC. I AM VERY PROUD TO REPRESENT THE PEOPLE OF THIS REGION - A REGION THAT MY 14-YEAR OLD DAUGHTER AND I LIVE IN AND BELIEVE IN - AND I'M HOPEFUL THAT MY REMARKS TODAY WILL HELP YOU IN OBTAINING A 5-YEAR REAUTHORIZATION OF THE ARC.

THANK YOU.

 

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