We have immense pride in the Appalachian region. For years, it has been a key pillar of American industry, driven by the strength of the work ethic and culture of Appalachian communities.
This vast region that spans 13 states and comprises more than 25 million people has been disproportionately hurt by the waves of economic shifts that have swept the country in recent decades. Declines in industries such as coal and traditional manufacturing—once the backbone of the region—have caused millions of jobs to disappear and affected the broader health of many communities. Despite decades of effort, many communities in the Appalachian region are still being left behind. Determined to improve conditions, many individuals and organizations across the region have successfully directed resources, talents, and ingenuity to respond to these challenges. Progress has been gradual, and more can be done to generate lasting change.
As United States senators representing states from the region, we aim to amplify these local efforts by working together to boost Appalachia’s prosperity and economic growth.
We partnered with the Bipartisan Policy Center to convene regional and national stakeholders to capture innovative ideas for the region. We worked collectively to develop pragmatic policy solutions focused on improving job training, economic development, healthcare, and strengthening the infrastructure and energy sectors in the region.
Each senator led one of the four policy roundtables, and through these discussions we found areas of agreement on many, but not all, of the recommendations found in this report. Advancing the interests of the Appalachian region requires working across the aisle, both in areas where we agree and where we disagree. We look forward to working together on a bipartisan basis on
We are grateful to the members of this task force for their partnership on this initiative and their tireless efforts on a daily basis to strengthen Appalachia. The solutions in this report will amplify their efforts, and ultimately make a real difference in the lives of families who call this region home. We will engage with our Appalachian constituents, Congress, and the administration to find common ground on many of the issues presented in the report.