Ideas presented on how to improve economy at East KY Leadership Conference

By: Katie Roach Email
By: Katie Roach Email

MIDDLESBORO, Ky (WYMT) - The 26th annual East Kentucky Leadership Conference wrapped up Friday with several sessions about the issues facing this region.

The purpose is to bring leaders across East Kentucky together to talk about common problems and solutions to those problems.

"We've been doing it for 26 years, and it seems to work," said Bill Weinberg, Chairman of the East Kentucky Leadership Foundation.

Presenters talked about new ways to build the economy after 4,000 coal jobs were lost in eastern Kentucky alone last year.

"There is no one strategy that is going to solve that problem for us," said Peter Hille.

Topics ranged from how to improve education, what is the best way to spend coal severance tax dollars, and how to improve the economy.

One session called Re-Imagining Appalachia, presented by Peter Hille, sought to get ideas from leaders about the new East Kentucky Initiative, a list of priorities for east Kentucky that will be given to the next gubernatorial candidates

The last East Kentucky Initiative was completed in 2008, and Hille says a lot has changed in five years.

"Many of the elements of the original set of priorities have been accomplished, and it's time to take a fresh look and update the priorities," said Hille.

He says it will take about one year to finish the project, and he wants everyone's input.

Next year's conference will be held in Somerset.

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