Jessica Lilly Published

Q & A: Newly Appointed ARC Co-Chair Lays Out Vision for the Region


President Donald Trump appointed a new federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission or ARC. Tim Thomas spent the past three years serving on the state staff of Republican U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell from Kentucky. Thomas also has experience as the director of external and regulatory affairs for Swift & Staley, a Kentucky-based maintenance, operations and environmental services company. Its clients have included federal and state agencies, such as the U.S. Departments of Energy and Agriculture.

The Appalachian Regional Commission is tasked with economic development in the 420 counties recognized as Appalachian. It’s made up of governors from the 13 Appalachian states and a federal co-chair. Co-Chairman Tim Thomas recently spoke with Jessica Lilly to share his priorities for the Appalachian Regional Commission and the region.

  • Entrepreneurship/small business expansion
  • Opioid epidemic interventions
  • Economic development in coal communities

Thomas also worked as the executive director for the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority. The agency helps finance the expansion of water and wastewater services throughout the state. Thomas said he plans to use his work in Kentucky as an example to help Appalachian states gain access to water and wastewater infrastructure.