Part II of the regular session of the Kentucky General Assembly is scheduled to convene Feb. 5. As part of our commitment to leadership in governmental development, the Hopkins County Regional Chamber of Commerce has been dialoging with local legislators about the session, and here’s some of what they have been telling us:
In advance of the session, the Kentucky Chamber revisited its framework of “Four Pillars for Prosperity” for the state—healthy and skilled workforce, effective and efficient state government, 21st-century infrastructure and quality jobs—and built a 2019 Legislative Agenda detailing priorities for the General Assembly. The agenda is downloadable from the state Chamber.
On Jan. 10, Hopkins County Regional Chamber of Commerce president Leslie Curneal attended the annual Kentucky Chamber Day Dinner in Lexington, where Gov. Matt Bevin, legislators and business leaders shared thoughts and visions. Jacqueline Pitts wrote at Bottom Line, “Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Dave Adkisson (identified) infrastructure funding, legal liability reform, bail reform, sports wagering, fixing the state’s arbitration statute, tribunal reform, and tobacco-free schools as top priorities of the business community in 2019.”
Meanwhile, the Hopkins County Fiscal Court’s broadband initiative is among the issues for which the local Chamber has been advocating. Here’s part of a letter we provided in 2018 to support the fiscal court’s grant-writing around this effort:
The ability to provide critical infrastructure like broadband is necessary for attracting and retaining industries, educating our students and workforce, ensuring public safety, and encouraging tourism in rural communities.
Connection to affordable, reliable high-speed Internet continues to be a problem for areas outside of the Madisonville city limits and places limitations on our ability to grow our business and industry community. Additionally, it hinders access of information needed by our students, families, and workforce to achieve higher levels of education. Improving broadband service will also increase access for tourists visiting Hopkins County where currently internet speeds are slow or not available, limiting access to information on recreation, camping, boating/fishing and trails which are very popular in this area.
The effective use of the Internet and digital technologies can promote growth, competitiveness, innovation and high living standards for Hopkins County. The Hopkins County Regional Chamber of Commerce will continue to be a strong supporter of expanding broadband services to the underserved areas of the community.
Also, we were gratified to learn that the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and Indiana Department of Transportation in December 2018 identified the Central Alternative as the preferred route for the proposed I-69 Ohio River Crossing. In September, the Hopkins County Regional Chamber of Commerce board had approved a resolution supporting that Central Alternative.
As always, we would appreciate your thoughts on our work on these or any other governmental issues that are of consequence to you and your business. Please reach out to us 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Central weekdays at (270) 821-3435 or 15 East Center Street in Madisonville—or any time at https://www.hopkinscochamber.com/contact.html.