A slice of Appalachian Kentucky life once again descended on the State Capitol for the annual “I Love Mountains Day." The rally at the mid-point of the General Assembly traditionally attracts a large group from eastern Kentucky. That proved to be true again on Wednesday.
“I Love Mountains Day” supporters often promote an environmental agenda. In addition this year, there was interest in the “Shaping Our Appalachian Region” movement.
A SOAR summit was held in early December to further economic development efforts. Carl Shoupe is a third generation eastern Kentuckian from Harlan County. “I’m really excited about it that a Republican congressman and a Democratic governor can, at least come together, and it’s being talked about anyway,” said Shoupe.
Shoupe believes increasing broadband internet access in his region will offer a better chance of luring new industry to the area.
Well-known Kentucky author Wendell Berry doesn’t have a lot of confidence in political leaders. He says part of the economic solution lies in preserving what’s already here. “They’ve got to take care of what’s left of the land and the forest that’s up there and nobody’s taking about that in the publicity that I saw,” said Berry.
Berry says part of the economic solution also rests in energy diversification. For instance, he has installed three solar collector panels at his home in Henry County.