Gov. Cooper speaks at WNC Rebounding Stronger Summit

Press release from Land of Sky Regional Council:

Governor Roy Cooper was among the speakers in Cherokee, North Carolina today at the WNC Rebounding Stronger Summit held at the Cherokee Convention Center. More than 120 regional leaders gathered to discuss the challenges and solutions facing rural western North Carolinians.

Hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, the Southwestern Commission Council of Governments, and Land of Sky Regional Council, the summit featured comments from Cooper, who highlighted his administration’s accomplishments, including that 83% of economic initiatives created in the past few years have been in rural communities. “When we invest in rural communities, we strengthen the entire state,” said Cooper.

In addition to Cooper, speakers included Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Chief Richard Sneed, Western Carolina University Chancellor Kelli Brown, and Managing Partner of Economic Leadership, LLC Ted Abernathy. Patrick Woodie, President of the NC Rural Center in Raleigh, presented three persistent challenges facing rural areas and nine drivers that rural North Carolina must adapt in order to thrive. Panels of experts led discussions regarding infrastructure solutions, workforce solutions, and strategies for innovation, which challenged and inspired representatives from Rutherford to Graham counties.

“We planned this event to bring people together to hear some of the innovative strategies that address the complicated issues we face in our region,” said Russ Harris, Executive Director of the Southwestern Commission. “I hope that people were inspired by the conversations today on concerns – such as lack of broadband and housing – that we are all working together to solve. While it doesn’t happen as fast as we would like, strengthening and expanding the partnerships of organizations working on these issues will, ultimately, be a huge asset for western North Carolina.”

“Today was a wonderful day for western North Carolina.  We appreciate Governor Cooper and so many other leaders for joining this important conversation.  Our region is poorer and less healthy than state and national averages. We appreciate our partnership with Southwestern Commission and the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond to make this summit possible.  Working together we can meet our many challenges, today was a great example of how mountain people can come together to help make a better future,” said Nathan Ramsey, Executive Director of Land of Sky Regional Council.

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