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Keep ARC in budget

When campaigning in the hotly-contested 1960 West Virginia primary, John F. Kennedy spent a month in Appalachia, seeing first-hand the poverty and need for development in the region.

Following his victory in the state, Kennedy promised residents that they would not be forgotten and, after being elected and meeting with governors from throughout Appalachia, he pushed for the creation of the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Kennedy did not live to see the 1965 launch of the federal agency, which occurred under his successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, but it remains a part of his legacy.

Operating in 13 states, the ARC has provided funds for needed infrastructure and economic development to areas, including Lawrence County.

Over the past two years, more than $176 million in funds have been awarded to such projects.

In Lawrence County, the ARC has helped with water and sewer improvements, building renovations and projects such as the Gateway Center and equipment at Ohio University Southern.

This month, President Donald Trump submitted his budget blueprint, which calls for increased military spending, while cutting domestic programs.

Like Kennedy, Trump told Appalachian voters he would look out for their interests, but ARC, the Economic Development Administration and others benefitting our region would be eliminated entirely under the president’s plan.

The call for ARC cuts has generated bipartisan opposition, whether from Democrats like U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown or Republicans like U.S. Sen. Rob Portman and U.S. Rep Bill Johnson.

While unnecessary spending and government waste are always worthy of cuts, these programs are vital to Lawrence County and its development, and Ohio’s delegation should continue to lead the fight to keep them in the federal budget.